Kenai River Brown Bears goaltender Nils Wallstrom has committed to play Division I hockey at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The commitment was announced by the Brown Bears late this week.
Wallstrom is the second goalie on the Kenai River roster to get a Division I commitment. Wasilla’s Bryant Marks committed to Division I University of Alaska Anchorage earlier this season.
The problem is that Marks hasn’t played since Dec. 31 due to an injury. This has made Wallstrom one of the busiest goalies in the league.
Wallstrom, who is 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, has played in 38 games, third most in the league. He’s compiled a 19-15-3 record.
The netminder from Skelleftea, Sweden, has a .916 save percentage, which ties him for 19th in the league. He has allowed 3.01 goals per game, which is 31st in the league.
Only one goalie in the league has seen more shots than Wallstrom. Kayden Hargraves of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs has faced 1,408 shots, while Wallstrom has seen 1,312.
Wallstrom has shown the ability to have shutdown weekends, evidenced by him being named the North American Hockey League Midwest Division Star of the Week three times this season.
American International is a member of Atlantic Hockey. The Yellow Jackets ended their season Sunday with an 18-14-7 record. Eric Lang completed his seventh season as head coach. He now has a record of 122-100-24.
The Brown Bears are in action at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
Both the Ice Dogs and Brown Bears have just 10 games remaining. Kenai River (25-22-2-1) is tied for the fourth and final playoff spot with the Anchorage Wolverines with 53 points. The Ice Dogs (26-19-5-0) are in third with 57 points.
In the Club 49 Cup, the Wolverines have 28, while the Ice Dogs have 22 and the Brown Bears have 10. Anchorage and Fairbanks don’t play any more games against each other. Kenai River has six games left against Fairbanks and four left against Anchorage.