The Kenai River Brown Bears suffered a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Magicians on the opening day of the North American Hockey League Showcase tournament in Blaine, Minnesota.
The Brown Bears opened up an early 2-0 lead, getting goals from Jack Gessert and Jordan Hank, only to see it erased in the second and third periods of play.
The loss dropped Kenai River to 1-4-0 in 2015. The Bears went 3-1 against the Magicians last year.
Kenai River will face the Aberdeen (South Dakota) Hawks Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ADT.
The Bears took advantage of two early power plays Wednesday to open the scoring. Hank notched his second goal of the season just 75 seconds into play with assists from Gunnar Goodmanson and Gessert.
Gessert then converted a power play over 13 minutes into the game to grab his fifth goal of the young season.
However, Minnesota stormed back with a pair of strikes in the second period, starting with Johnny Panvica’s score 5:37 into the middle stanza and continuing with Trey Rooney’s tying goal at the midway point of the period.
The Magicians then took the lead with 5:15 to go in the third and final period, taking advantage of a power play to get a goal from Travis Brown.
The result handed Nicholas Nast his second loss of the season as goalie for Kenai River. Nast saved 32 out of 35 shots in just over 58 minutes of play.
The $21 million Schwan Super Rink, where the showcase is being played, features a staggering eight separate ice rinks under one roof which amounts to 300,000 square feet.
Magicians 3, Brown Bears 2
Kenai River 2 0 0 —2
Minnesota 0 2 1 —3
First period — 1. Kenai River, Hank (Goodmanson, Gessert), pp, 1:15; 2. Kenai River, Gessert (Bofshever), pp, 13:27. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Minnesota 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 3. Minnesota, Panvica (Crawford, Fralich), 5:37; 4. Minnesota, Rooney (Brierley, Bucsis), 9:53. Penalties — Kenai River 5 for 10:00; Minnesota 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 5. Minnesota, Brown (Brierley, Jungwirth), pp, 14:45. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 10-10-7—27; Minnesota 15-9-11—35.
Goalies — Kenai River, Nast (35 shots, 32 saves); Minnesota, Ulrich (27 shots, 25 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 2 for 2; Minnesota 1 for 6.