The Kenai River Brown Bears took three points out of a Friday and Saturday series with the host Anchorage Wolverines in North American Hockey League play.
Friday, the Bears won 3-2 in overtime at Ben Boeke Ice Arena for their first road triumph of the season. Saturday, the Bears dropped a 5-4 decision in OT.
Kenai River is 6-19-1-0 and remains in last place in the Midwest Division. The Wolverines are 15-9-2-0 and are in third place.
The Club 49 Cup standings now show the Fairbanks Ice Dogs with 14 points, Anchorage with 13 points and the Bears with seven points.
“I just think we had a good week at practice and the guys are buying in,” Kenai River interim head coach Taylor Shaw said Friday. “We had a lot of opportunities and chances five-on-five.”
In the Friday game, Anchorage got two power-play goals, but the Bears were able to get two five-on-five goals in regulation to keep special teams from being decisive.
With 16:57 left in the second period, Campbell Cichosz scored for Anchorage. After Bryce Monrean, on assists from Jeffrey Bertrand and Cole Dubicki, tied it, Joey Moffatt scored on the power play with eight seconds left in the second period for a 2-1 Wolverines lead.
With 3:08 left in the game, Kaden Hjelm, assisted by Kevin Marx Noren and Caden Triggs, tied it at 2.
Shaw said Triggs pushed the puck in the zone and won a race to the puck, then Marx Noren got the puck to Hjelm out in front of the net.
“It was a big-time goal,” Shaw said.
Just 44 seconds into overtime, Shaw said a good transition through the neutral zone led to the game-winner by Carter Green, assisted by Gramm McCormack and Dubicki.
Bryant Marks, recovering from a recent injury, had 23 saves for the victory. Raythan Robbins, who had 24 saves, took the loss to fall to 9-2-0-2 on the season. Two of those losses have come in his last two starts against the Bears.
Saturday, the Bears once again scored late in regulation to tie the game, but this time it was Anchorage’s Talon Sigurdson scoring 38 seconds into overtime for the victory.
McCormack and Dubicki had big games for the Bears. McCormack had two goals and two assists, while Dubicki had three assists.
McCormack gave the Bears the lead after one period, scoring on assists from Dubicki and Monrean.
Sigurdson and Cichosz put the Wolverines up 2-1 in the second period before Hjelm, assisted by McCormack and Jeffrey Bertrand, tied it at 2 headed to the third period.
Kenai River took a 3-2 lead with 16:13 left in the game when Monrean scored on assists from McCormack and Dubicki, but Sigurdson and Gage Brown came back and scored for Anchorage for a 4-3 lead with 5:45 to play.
But with 1:10 left, McCormack scored on an assist from Dubicki to send it to overtime.
Marks made 31 saves for the Bears, while Shane Soderwall stopped 16 for the Wolverines.
The Bears also traded for forward Kris Zapata this week from the Maine Nordiques. Zapata is a forward with one year of junior eligibility left after this season. Shaw said the Bears are instituting a system that values speed, and Zapata fits that bill.
The Bears play Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues before taking Christmas break.
Brown Bears 3, Wolverines 2, OT
Kenai River 0 1 1 1 —3
Anchorage 0 2 0 0 —2
First period — none. Penalties — Anchorage 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 1. Anchorage, Cichosz (Friesen), pp, 3:03; 2. Kenai River, Monrean (Bertrand, Dubicki), 9:30; 3. Anchorage, Moffatt (Cichosz, Friesen), pp, 19:52. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 8:00; Anchorage 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 4. Kenai River, Hjelm (Marx Noren, Triggs), 16:52. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Anchorage 1 for 2:00.
Overtime — 5. Kenai River, Green (McCormack, Dubicki), 0:44. Penalties — none.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 9-8-8-2—27; Anchorage 10-8-7-0—25.
Goalies — Kenai River, Marks (25 shots, 23 saves); Anchorage, Robbins (27 shots, 24 saves).