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Brown Bears drop 2 in Minnesota

The Kenai River Brown Bears dropped to 1-7-0-0 with Friday and Saturday losses to the host Minnesota Wilderness in North American Hockey League action.

The Wilderness moved to 3-2-1-0 after picking up the 5-2 Friday win and 8-4 Saturday win.

Friday’s loss was not as bad as the score indicated, due to a couple late, empty-net goals by the Wilderness.

After Aaron Pionk put the Wilderness up 1-0 in the first, Tristan Thibeault, assisted by Brendan Hill and Luke Panchisin, answered a little over a minute later on the power play for the Bears.

In the second, Severi Sulonen put Minnesota ahead, but this time Cole Dubicki answered on the power play unassisted.

Charlie Erickson broke the tie for Minnesota with 12:43 left in the game, then Gunnar Thoreson and Noah Decker added the empty-netters.

Jacob Zacharewicz stopped 32 for Minnesota, while Bryant Marks saved 32 for the Bears.

The game once again got away from the Bears on Saturday in the third period.

In the first period, Hayden Kruse scored first for the Wilderness, but David Vieten, assisted by Panchisin and Luke Anderson, and Dubicki, assisted by Gramm McCormack, gave the Bears a 2-1 lead headed to the second.

Thoreson and Max Ruoho put the Wilderness up 3-2 headed to the third.

Ethan Wolthers, Nicholas Rexine and Bobby Metz all scored in the first 5:02 of the third to make it 6-2.

Tyler Pfister, assisted by McCormack and Dubicki, and Dubicki, assisted by Marks, scored on the power play for the Bears. William Persson and Aaron Pionk scored late for Minnesota.

Sam Livecchi stopped 27 for the Wilderness, while Marks made 12 saves on 16 shots and Nathan Dickey made 25 saves on 28 shots for the Bears.

Kenai River plays at the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday and Saturday.

Friday

Wilderness 5, Brown Bears 2

Kenai River 1 1 0 —2

Minnesota 1 1 3 —5

First period — 1. Minnesota, Pionk (Ruoho, Erickson), sh, 12:09; 2. Kenai River, Thibeault (Hill, Panchisin), pp, 13:10. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Minnesota 2 for 4:00.

Second period — 3. Minnesota, Sulonen (McQuade, Borst), 4:04; 4. Kenai River, Dubicki (un.), pp, 10:25. Penalties — Minnesota 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 5. Minnesota, Erickson (Borst, McQuade), 7:17; 6. Minnesota, Thoreson (Niell, Ruoho), 18:22; 7. Minnesota, Decker (Ruoho, Thoreson), 19:51. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Minnesota 1 for 2:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 12-10-12—34; Minnesota 11-12-14—37.

Goalies — Kenai River, Marks (35 shots, 32 saves); Minnesota, Zacharewicz (34 shots, 32 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 2 for 4; Minnesota 0 for 3.

Saturday

Wilderness 8, Brown Bears 4

Kenai River 2 0 2 —4

Minnesota 1 2 5 —8

First period — 1. Minnesota, Kruse (Pionk, Ruoho), 0:46; 2. Kenai River, Vieten (Panchisin, Anderson), 4:59; 3. Kenai River, Dubicki (McCormack), 10:49. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Minnesota 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 4. Minnesota, Thoreson (Wolthers), sh. 0:59; 5. Minnesota, Ruoho (Thoreson, Gordon), 2:27. Penalties — none.

Third period — 6. Minnesota, Wolthers (Thoreson, Pionk), 0:53; 7. Minnesota, Rexine (Sulonen, Neill), 2:38; 8. Minnesota, Metz (Wolthers, Thoreson), 5:02; 9. Kenai River, Pfister (McCormack, Dubicki), pp, 10:23; 10. Minnesota, Persson (Kruse, Mitchell), 10:50; 11. Kenai River, Dubicki (Marks), pp, 14:53; 12. Minnesota, Pionk (Livecchi, Metz), en, 19:31. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Minnesota 3 for 24:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 12-9-10—31; Minnesota 12-16-17—45.

Goalies — Kenai River, Dickey (28 shots, 25 saves), Marks (16 shots, 12 saves); Minnesota, Livecchi (31 shots, 27 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 2 for 3, Minnesota 0 for 3.

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