tease

Brown Bears, Ice Dogs split

The visiting Kenai River Brown Bears split with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday and Saturday in North American Hockey League play, winning 6-5 in a shootout Friday before falling 7-2 on Saturday.

The Bears are now 22-22-1-1, while the Ice Dogs are 23-19-2-2. The last two games of the regular season for both playoff-qualified teams are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. The teams go into that series locked at 1-1 in the Alaska Airlines Cup.

Josh Dubinsky, interim head coach, said Friday the team continued to impress in the wake of the departure of head coach Kevin Murdock. Dubinsky said the team learned of Murdock’s departure about two hours before a 3-2 overtime victory over Janesville on May 1.

“I was super proud of how the guys responded,” Dubinsky said. “They were told about the situation about two hours before the game. That’s a lot to throw at you, especially when you’re playing a team like Janesville.

“They played what I think is one of their best games of the year.”

The Bears kept rolling in Friday’s first period.

Kenai River started fast, taking a 4-0 lead after the first period. Peter Morgan, Brandon McNamara, Jake Veri and Gramm McCormack all struck in the first 20 minutes for the Bears.

“The biggest thing is we just buried our chances,” Dubinsky said. “I don’t think we necessarily played our best period of the year. It was a back-and-forth type period, but we buried our chances.”

Dubinsky said Nathan Dickey, an affiliate goalie with a 2003 birth year, was great in the first period and kept the score from being 4-4.

In the second period, the Bears ran into penalty trouble — getting whistled for five penalties to two for Fairbanks — and the script quickly flipped.

The attendance in the Big Dipper, which seats just over 2,000, was listed at 971. Dubinsky said the Bears haven’t experienced an environment like that all season and got a little bit overwhelmed when Fairbanks got rolling in the second.

Laker Aldridge, Jake Hale and Cam Ricotta had the Ice Dogs within 4-3 headed to the third period.

Kenai River got a power-play goal from Daymin Dodge 50 seconds into the third period. Dubinsky said the Bears talked about how important that power play was in the locker room and he said that goal was big for restoring some momentum.

Jack Ring came back with a goal for Fairbanks less than a minute later, but then Dubinsky said the Bears settled in and played well. Nathan Butler scored for the Ice Dogs with 3:26 to play to put the game in overtime. Dubinsky said the Bears had most of the possession in overtime and had some good chances.

The interim head coach said that was impressive because Kenai River had a long day of travel before the game, leaving the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex at 4 a.m. Friday.

After a scoreless overtime, Dickey stopped all three Ice Dogs shooters in the shootout. All it took was a goal from Morgan Winters to record the victory.

Dickey had 51 saves for the Bears, while Ryan Keyes stopped 28 for the Ice Dogs.

“For him to come in and play like that in that building, getting over 50 saves, is impressive,” Dubinsky said. “He is the reason we won that game.”

Lucas Wahlin and Jake Veri sustained upper body injuries in the Friday game and Dubinsky said he hopes they will be back sooner rather than later.

Saturday, Fairbanks led 3-0 after the first period and 4-0 in the second before Anchorage’s Max Helgeson scored, assisted by Winters and Laudon Poellinger. Fairbanks led 6-1 in the third when Eagle River’s Brandon Lajoie scored, assisted by Anchorage’s Ryan Reid and Peter Morgan.

Dickey made 22 saves on 27 shots, while Luke Pavicich came on in relief for 19 saves on 20 shots. Kayden Hargraves stopped 25 for the Ice Dogs.

Friday

Brown Bears 6, Ice Dogs 5

Kenai River 4 0 1 0 1 —5

Fairbanks 0 3 2 0 0 —5

First period — 1. Kenai River, Morgan (Dodge, Wahlin), 5:55; 2. Kenai River, McNamara (Dubicki, Lajoie), 7:43; 3. Kenai River, Veri (Winters, Thrun), 8:56; 4. Kenai River, McCormack (Tomlinson, Vieten), 17:33. Penalties — none.

Second period — 5. Fairbanks, Aldridge (Plante, Miles), pp, 3:53; 6. Fairbanks, Hale (Garby, Ring), 12:54; 7. Fairbanks, Ricotta (Murray, Garby), 17:56. Penalties — Kenai River 5 for 10:00; Fairbanks 2 for 4:00.

Third period — 8. Kenai River, Dodge (Reid, Wahlin), pp, 0:50; 9. Fairbanks, Ring (Garby, Neuharth), 1:27; 10. Fairbanks, Butler (Murray, Ricotta), 16:34. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Fairbanks 2 for 4:00.

Overtime — none. Penalties — none.

Shootout — Kenai River 1 (Lajoie NG, Winters G, McNamara NG); Fairbanks 0 (Becker NG, Plante NG, Link NG).

Shots on goal — Kenai River 15-6-9-3—33; Fairbanks 14-24-16-2—56.

Goalies — Kenai River, Dickey (56 shots, 51 saves); Fairbanks, Keyes (33 shots, 28 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 3; Fairbanks 1 for 5.

More in Sports

Range (shown in red) of the northern flying squirrel in Alaska. (Source: Alaska Fish and Game)
Refuge Notebook: Myth or mystery — flying squirrels on the Kenai

The northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is somewhat of an enigma to… Continue reading

Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp (kneeling) is pictured with the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park volunteer group who cleared South Eldred Trail during National Trails Day on June 5. The group was able to clear half a mile of the trail. Pictured left to right are Kristine Moerlein, Amy Holman, Kathy Sarns, Lyn Maslow, Ruth Dickerson and Kris Holderied. (Photo by Michael Singer)
Out of the Office: Finding Home in Alaska

“The story is it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s unfriendly and there are… Continue reading

Associated Press
Lydia Jacoby participates in the Women’s 100 Breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Monday in Omaha, Nebraska.
Jacoby misses mark in the 200, still waiting for spot on Team USA in the 100

Jacoby will have a better idea by Friday or Saturday about whether she made Team USA in the 100-meter breaststroke.

The Kenai River Brown Bears hockey team announced Keenan Kelly as its new head coach on June 15, 2021. (Photo provided)
Kelly to take over as Brown Bears head coach

Former head coach Kevin Murdock stepped down in early May.

(Peninsula Clarion file)
Chinooks overpower Oilers

Kenai and Chugiak played evenly throughout the first two thirds of the game.

Lydia Jacoby participates in the Women’s 100 Breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Monday, June 14, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. On Tuesday Jacoby came in second to former Olympic gold medalist Lilly King in the finals, likely earning herself a spot on the Olympic team. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jacoby likely to be 1st Alaska swimmer to make Olympics

She hopped out of the Olympic trials pool Tuesday night the second-fastest swimmer in the world for her event.

Allie Ostrander competes in a women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase preliminary heat Thursday, June 6, 2019, at the NCAA Div. I Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas. (Photo provided by Boise State Athletics)
Ostrander pushes ahead with Olympic trials

The three-time NCAA Division champion opened up about her eating disorder treatment.

(Peninsula Clarion file)
Oilers fall to Bucs in Anchorage matchup

The Oilers couldn’t come back to defeat the Anchorage Bucs at Mulcahy… Continue reading

Most Read