Brown Bears drop 2 games on road

The Kenai River Brown Bears were swept on the road by the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues in North American Hockey League play, losing 4-2 on Friday and 3-2 on Saturday.

“A Jekyll and Hide team that didn’t show up for all but the last 20 minutes of tonight’s game,” Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said Saturday. “For a game and a half, we didn’t play hockey.”

Consistency has been a problem for the Brown Bears this season. They were coming off a sweep of the Anchorage Wolverines.

“We’ve got to really look into the locker room and figure out what we have,” Shaw said. “At Game 30, we can’t keep doing this.”

At Game 30, looking at the standings with an eye toward returning to the playoffs also becomes important.

At 12-16-2-0, Kenai River is seventh in the eight-team Midwest Division with 26 points. The Jr. Blues are in last at 9-15-2-1, good for 21 points.

The fourth and final playoff spot belongs to the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel at 32 points, while the Minnesota Wilderness lead the division with 39 points.

Friday, the Bears fell behind when Dom Schroder lit the lamp for the Jr. Blues.

With 3:02 left in the first, Hayden Walters scored on the power-play on assists from Landon MacDonald and Joe Manning to tie the game.

In the second period, Zach Howard put Springfield up. With 5:53 left in the period, Kenai River again answered on the power play, with Andy Larson scoring on Kotaro Tsutsumi and Walters assists.

With 3:30 left in the game, Dylan Glinski of the Jr. Blues scored short-handed for the game-winner. With 1:11 left, Landry Schmuck sealed it with a short-handed empty-netter.

JJ Cataldo stopped 40 pucks for Springfield, while Conor Sullivan had 38 saves for Kenai River.

Saturday, the Jr. Blues jumped to a 3-0 lead with 6:48 left in the second period on goals from Jake Peterson, Hadley Hudak and Aidan Dyer.

Kenai River mounted a comeback. With 2:40 left in the second period, Nick Stevens scored on the power-play on Luke Hause and Roope Tuomioksa assists.

With 16:38 left in the game, Tiziano Pauchard scored with help from Dylan Contreras and John Ross, but Kenai River could not find the equalizer despite winning the shot count in the final period 13-5.

Cataldo had 29 saves for the Jr. Blues, while Marks Slavinskis-Repe stopped 21 for Kenai River.

Kenai River stays on the road to face the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets at 4:05 p.m. AKST on Friday and Saturday.

More in Sports

The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a goal during a game against Fairbanks at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River Brown Bears snap losing skid with win over Fairbanks

It was the team’s first win since Dec. 2

Soldotna’s Kaytlin McAnelly, backed by teammate Izzy Cruz, moves with the ball against defensive play by Houston’s Andi Robinson during a basketball game at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Friday hoops: Soldotna splits with Houston on senior night

Nikiski girls and boys also took on Grace Christian

The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a goal by Dylan Contreras, center, during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topped by Ice Dogs

The two teams play again Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Kenai’s Reid Titus collects high fives from the bleachers after making an unlikely shot during a basketball game at Nikiski Middle/High School in Nikiski, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Tuesday hoops: Kenai sweeps Nikiski

The Kenai girls and boys teams both came out on top

Martin Flores skis into the finish to win the 40-kilometer Double Tour while carrying an Alaska flag during the Tour of Tsalteshi at Tsalteshi Trails near Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Skiers, bikers turn out for Seventh Annual Tour of Tsalteshi

Racers came from across the Kenai Peninsula and beyond and competed in a variety of lengths and modes of travel

ski tease
Soldotna girls, Kenai boys win borough ski meet

The event took place Saturday at Lookout Mountain Recreation Area

hoops tease
Monday hoops: CIA sweeps Nanwalek

The host Ninilchik boys and girls swept Effie Kokrine

Ninilchik’s Riley Tucker moves down the court during a basketball game at Ninilchik School in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. Tucker was named tournament MVP and three-point champion at the Ninilchik Invitational Tournament. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Nikiski girls, Ninilchik boys win Ninilchik Invitational Tournament

Both teams took wins over Unalaska in title matches on Saturday

Most Read