The early struggles of the Kenai River Brown Bears continued Friday with an 8-3 loss to the Wichita Falls (Texas) Wildcats at the North American Hockey League Showcase tournament in Blaine, Minnesota.
As has been the case in four of their last six games, the Brown Bears held a brief lead before seeing it erased. Friday, Kenai River went from leading to trailing by a goal in a 94-second span early in the first period.
Kenai River dropped to 1-6-0 in 2015 and 0-3-0 in the tournament with the loss, while the South division leading Wildcats improved to 4-1-0.
The Bears got a quick strike only 36 seconds into the game when Cameron Cook scored off assists from Jack Nickels and Joey Sardina.
Adam Goodsir tied it up for Wichita Falls just over five minutes later, then notched the go-ahead goal less than two minutes after that on a Wichita Falls power play. Nikita Litviak scored midway through the period to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
Barely five minutes into the second period of play, the Wildcats had stretched the lead to 6-1, getting goals from Ander Pison (on a power play), Garrett VanWyhe and Max Reisinger. Jeffrey Fasegha pulled a goal back for Kenai River on a power play with 49 seconds left in the period, but Wichita Falls snuck in a short-handed goal with a second remaining to push the lead to 7-2 going into the second intermission.
Charles Spetz scored for Kenai River in the third period, which saw only 11 shots on goal between the two sides.
Nicholas Nast started the game in goal for the Bears but was pulled after 25 minutes after giving up six goals on 24 shots. Brian Baker went the remaining distance, stopping nine of 11 shots.
The Bears struggled with a man advantage all game long, converting only one out of 12 power play opportunities. Wichita Falls, meanwhile, scored twice on six power plays.
The Brown Bears will finish off their Showcase against the Austin (Minnesota) Bruins, Saturday at 3:15 p.m ADT. The Bruins currently stand with a 2-3-0 season mark.
Wildcats 8, Brown Bears 3
Kenai River 1 1 1 —3
Wichita Falls 3 4 1 —8
1st period — 1. Kenai River, Cook (Nickels, Sardina), :36; 2. Wichita Falls, Goodsir (Lown, Rounds), 5:46; 3. Wichita Falls, Goodsir (Reisinger), pp, 7:20; 4. Wichita Falls, Litviak (Lown), 10:20. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Wichita Falls 3 for 6:00.
2nd period — 5. Wichita Falls, Pison (Litviak, Jaeger), pp, 1:01; 6. Wichita Falls, VanWyhe (Dalton, Gilreath), 3:52; 7. Wichita Falls, Reisinger (Russell, Jaeger), 5:08; 8. Kenai River, Fasegha (Cook), pp, 19:11; 9. Wichita Falls, Lown (unassisted), sh, 19:59. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Wichita Falls 6 for 22:00.
3rd period — 10. Wichita Falls, Rosa (Mismash), 3:44; 11. Kenai River, Spetz (Bofshever), 5:12. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Wichita Falls, 3 for 6:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-10-5—23; Wichita Falls 14-15-6—35.
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 12; Wichita Falls 2 for 6.
Goalies — Kenai River, Nast (24 shots, 18 saves), Baker (11 shots, 9 saves); Wichita Falls, Kapelmaster (23 shots, 20 saves).