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Brown Bears hold off Philadelphia at Showcase

The Kenai River Brown Bears held off the Philadelphia Rebels for a 3-1 victory Friday at the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota.

The Bears move to 2-1-0-0, while Philadelphia falls to 1-2-0-0.

“It was definitely a step in the right direction,” Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said. “We were able to clean stuff up and it was good to bounce back.”

Both Ashton Christman and Garret Drotts were able to collect their first North American Hockey League goals Friday.

Shaw said before the season the Bears would have to rely on veterans for scoring early in the season, but Shaw is encouraged by the contributions of the young players so far. He cautioned it’s too early to proclaim a trend.

“It’s still only the third game of a 60-game season,” he said.

Christman got the lone goal of the first period, assisted by Ben Monson and Luke Anderson.

With 7:50 left in the game, Drotts put the Bears up 2-0 with help from Anderson and Nick Stevens.

The Rebels made things interesting when David Deputy scored on a power play with 1:56 left.

With 29 seconds remaining, Kotaro Tsutsumi, assisted by Bryce Monrean and Caleb Huffman, found the empty net to seal the win.

“To close out the game the way they did speaks volumes about the group,” Shaw said.

In his first start of the season, Wasilla’s Bryant Marks made 25 saves for the win, while Jack Fialkoff stopped 33 for the Rebels.

Marks spent last season with the Bears, but is still only 18 years old.

“The biggest thing for him, like we talked about last year, is patience and buying into the plan,” Shaw said. “It’s going to take time. I think he’s maturing on and off the ice, but we’ve got to remember he’s still young.”

The Bears wrap up the Showcase today with a 6:30 a.m. AKDT contest against the Lone Star (Texas) Brahmas.

Friday

Brown Bears 3, Rebels 1

Kenai River 1 0 2 —3

Philadelphia 0 0 1 —1

First period — 1. Kenai River, Christman (Monson, Anderson), 13:37. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Philadelphia 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 2. Kenai River, Drotts (Anderson, Stevens), 12:10; 3. Philadelphia, Deputy (Calvarino), pp, 18:04; 4. Kenai River, Tsutsumi (Monrean, Huffman), en, 19:31. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Philadelphia 1 for 2:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-14-14—36; Philadelphia 7-12-7—26.

Goalies — Kenai River, Marks (26 shots, 25 saves); Philadelphia, Fialkoff (35 shots, 33 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 2; Philadelphia 0 for 4.

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