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Brown Bears fall to Brahmas, finish Showcase 2-2

The Kenai River Brown Bears lost to the Lone Star (Texas) Brahmas 5-3 on Saturday to finish the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, at 2-2-0-0.

Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said the tourney was not a perfect start for his team, but the 2-2 record is a step in the right direction and gives the Bears some building blocks.

The Showcase is an opportunity for college and pro scouts to see all the NAHL talent in one place. Shaw said the type of scouts paying attention were a good sign for his squad.

“There were big Division I schools peeping their head down around the corner to talk to some of the guys and they have a lot of great things to say,” Shaw said. “They feel we’re going in the right direction.

“When they notice we’re on track four games into a 60-game season, the building blocks are there and we have a good foundation here.”

Shaw said a couple lulls Saturday cost his team. Four of five Brahmas goals were unassisted, which sometimes can indicate defensive miscues, and Shaw said that was the case.

“We’d probably want three goals back,” Shaw said. “Defensively, we were not as crisp as we have been. With four games in four days, we were not as crisp on the back end.

“But we can’t use that as an excuse. Everybody had to deal with that.”

After a scoreless first period, Ryan Finch, assisted by Jack Anderson and Ben Monson, scored on the power play for the Bears 2:19 into what would be a busy second period.

Lone Star eventually took a 2-1 lead in the second before Hayden Walters, assisted by Finch and Luke Hause, scored with 4:48 left in the period. Walters has his NAHL career off to a hot start, with four goals in four games.

But Lone Star scored a little over a minute later to go into the third up 3-2.

“We had a few lulls where we scored, then they score a shift or two later,” Shaw said. “We’ve got to learn not to let our foot off the gas.”

In the third, the Brahmas went up 4-2 before Garret Drotts, assisted by Finch and Monson, cut it to 4-3 with 14:56 left in the third.

“We had a couple chances to make it 4-4, but that’s how the game goes sometimes,” Shaw said.

With 1:24 left, Lone Star scored to ice the game.

Carson Dorfman had 32 saves for the Brahmas, while Nils Wallstrom stopped 18 for the Bears.

The Bears now jump into Midwest Division play with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets. All are at 4 p.m. AKDT.

Saturday

Brahmas 5, Brown Bears 3

Lone Star 0 3 2 —5

Kenai River 0 2 1 —3

First period — none. Penalties — Lone Star 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 1. Kenai River, Finch (Anderson, Monson), pp, 2:19; 2. Lone Star, Wilde (un.), 7:55; 3. Lone Star, Matthew Macdonald (un.), 13:27; 4. Kenai River, Walters (Finch, Hause), 15:12; 5. Lone Star, Mara (un.), 16:15. Penalties — Lone Star 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 6. Lone Star, Teply (Chapman), 2:18; 7. Kenai River, Drotts (Finch, Monson), 5:04; 8. Lone Star, Teply (un.), 18:36. Penalties — Lone Star 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.

Shots on goal — Lone Star 10-10-3—23; Kenai River 8-13-14—35.

Goalies — Lone Star, Dorfman (35 shots, 32 saves); Kenai River, Wallstrom (23 shots, 18 saves).

Power plays — Lone Star 0 for 4; Kenai River 1 for 4.

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