For a second straight night, the Kenai River Brown Bears went to overtime at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.
For a second straight night, they came out on the wrong end of things.
The Bears suffered a second straight 3-2 loss Thursday, this time to the Lone Star Brahmas, a day after losing by the same score in a shootout.
Lone Star’s Drew DeCarlo netted the game-winner 2 minutes, 57 seconds, into the overtime period, sending the Brahmas to 2-0 this year and the Bears to 0-2.
Both losses for Kenai River still count for points, as a loss in overtime or a shootout still pays one point, something that head coach Kevin Murdock is banking on. Murdock said the level of play between the Bears and the Brahmas came down to the lack of practice days Kenai River has had in the early season.
“We’re playing against teams that have been in gear for a couple of weeks already,” Murdock said. “We have only seven or eight practices so far, but there’s definitely some encouraging things coming together.”
Porter Schachle and Theo Thrun scored in the first period to give the Bears a 2-0 lead. Schachle scored unassisted 6:49 into the game, while Thrun extended the lead with help from Zach Krajnik with 3:57 left in the first period.
However, the Brahmas returned to outshoot the Bears 24-9 in the second and third periods. Murdock said it was evident during the team’s power-play opportunities, which totaled six. The Bears failed to score on all of them, including four in the first period.
The Bears fell into the penalty box twice in the second period as the Brahmas stayed clean, which began the shift in momentum.
Lone Star lit the lamp late in the second period with a goal from Jack Collins, then tied it with 12:06 remaining in the third on a Joey Baez score.
“I thought the guys came out with a lot of energy, and we might’ve surprised Lone Star a little,” Murdock said. “But then they got settled in for the next two periods and we let off the gas a little bit. They’re a veteran team with some experienced guys on it.”
Murdock said the overtime winner was a tough shot to block for CJ Hapward, who stopped 32 of 35 shots in net for the Bears.
“It was a nice shot, but I’m sure CJ would like to have that one back,” he said.
The Bears finish the NAHL Showcase with a pair of games against playoff contenders from a year ago. Kenai River faces the Jamestown (New York) Rebels Friday at 1:30 p.m. AKDT and the Austin (Minnesota) Bruins Saturday at 3:45 p.m. AKDT.
Brahmas 3, Brown Bears 2, OT
Lone Star 0 1 1 1 — 3
Kenai River 2 0 0 0 — 2
First period — 1. Kenai River, Porter Schachle (un.), 6:49; 2. Kenai River, Theo Thrun (Zach Krajnik), 16:03. Penalties — Lone Star 4 for 8:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 3. Lone Star, Jack Collins (Josh Martin, Noah Roofe), 14:49. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 4. Lone Star, Joey Baez (Thomas Daskas), 7:54. Penalties — Lone Star 3 for 6:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Overtime — 5. Lone Star, Drew DeCarlo (Matthew Rickard), 2:57. Penalties — none.
Shots on goal — Lone Star 9-13-11-2— 35; Kenai River 12-6-3-2—23.
Goalies — Lone Star, Persson (23 shots, 21 saves); Kenai River, Hapward (35 shots, 32 saves).