The Kenai River Brown Bears lost Friday and Saturday to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks.
The Bears lost 4-1 on Friday and 8-2 on Saturday. The Bears fall to 1-9-0-0, while Fairbanks moves to 7-2-0-1.
Next up for Kenai River is the home opener on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. against the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel.
Friday, Sam Berry opened the scoring for Fairbanks in the first period before Tristian Thibeault, assisted by Bryce Monrean, answered for the Bears a little over a minute later.
“I thought we probably played our most competitive game of the year,” Kenai River head coach Josh Dubinsky said. “We were solid in the first and got out of it 1-1.”
Owen Neuharth had the lone goal of the second period to put the Ice Dogs up 2-1.
“We played our best period in the second and couldn’t find the back of the net,” Dubinsky said.
With 7:05 left in the game, Noah Griswold gave Fairbanks a 3-1 lead, then Alexander Malinowski added an empty-netter. Dubinsky said the Bears continued to play well in the third period until the third goal. The coach said that goal was deflating.
Kayden Hargraves had 23 saves for Fairbanks, while Tommy Aitken stopped 24 for the Bears.
Aitken was acquired this week in a trade with Bismarck (North Dakota) Bobcats.
“He played the whole year last year in Bismarck,” Dubinsky said. “They’ve gotten off to a not great start like we have. They were looking for a change in net, and we know Tommy can play so we jumped at the opportunity to acquire him.”
Forward Caden Triggs also was acquired from the Minot (North Dakota) Minotauros this week. Dubinsky said Triggs can skate, but he’s also physical and brings an offensive upside.
Saturday, Fairbanks led 3-0 in the second period before Cole Dubicki scored on an assist from Jake Veri. Fairbanks then led 6-1 in the second before Brendan Hill scored unassisted.
For the Bears, Bryant Marks had 14 saves on 19 shots, while Aitken stopped 19 of 22 shots. For Fairbanks, Tyler Krivtsov stopped 32 of 34.
Ice Dogs 4, Brown Bears 1
Kenai River 1 0 0 —1
Fairbanks 1 1 2 —4
First period — 1. Fairbanks, Berry (Malinowski), 10:23; 2. Kenai River, Thibeault (Monrean), 11:40. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 15:00; Fairbanks 3 for 17:00.
Second period — 3. Fairbanks, Neuharth (Malinowski, Miles), 14:02. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 4. Fairbanks, Griswold (Mulrenin, Ricotta), 12:55; 5. Fairbanks, Malinowski (Ostbloom), en, 18:40. Penalties — none.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 11-10-3—24; Fairbanks 6-9-13—28.
Goalies — Kenai River, Aitken (27 shots, 24 saves); Fairbanks, Hargraves (24 shots, 23 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 1; Fairbanks 0 for 1.