(File/Peninsula Clarion)

(File/Peninsula Clarion)

Brown Bears pull back-to-back weekend wins

The Kenai River Brown Bears hockey team pulled out another win on Saturday night in the final hour of their season, 4-1, coming back from a two-game deficit against the Minnesota Magicians.

Kenai is now tied with Minnesota in the best-of-five game series in the Midwest North American Hockey League playoffs after the team’s win on Saturday.

Kenai’s Brandon Lajoie buried the game’s first goal on Saturday with an assist from Tyler Pfister and Jake Veri less than 10 minutes in, but Minnesota’s Lleyton Roed came back to tie it up, scoring with six minutes left in the first period.

The Brown Bears and Magicians were tied, 1-1, for the majority of the second period. With only about three minutes left, Lucas Wahlin scored for Kenai with an assist from Brandon McNamara and Peter Morgan to push them ahead.

After a lot of back and forth in the third period and the Magicians not capitalizing on faceoffs at Kenai’s end, the Brown Bears were able to solidify their lead. Max Helgeson scored with an assist from Daymin Dodge with less than five minutes left in the game and Laudon Poellinger slapped one in from the defensive end, unassisted, on an empty Minnesota net.

“We locked things down in the third [period],” interim head coach Josh Dubinsky said after the game. “We did a good job managing pucks.”

Dubinsky said Kenai goaltender Luke Pavicich was one of Saturday’s standouts. He saved 39 out of 40 Minnesota shots on goal.

The Brown Bears play their final game against the Magicians on Sunday at 3 p.m. If they win, they will advance to the Robertson Cup.

Brown Bears 2, Magicians 0

The Brown Bears rallied in the final minutes of the third period to take the win over the Minnesota Magicians, 2-0, at Andover Ice Rink on Friday night.

The Brown Bears and Magicians battled back and forth throughout the majority of the game, keeping each other scoreless until the very end of the third period.

Kenai capitalized on a faceoff at the Minnesota end with just about five minutes left in the game, Max Helgeson scoring the Bears’ first goal with an assist from Morgan Wahlin.

Tensions heightened as the Magicians ran out of time to tie the score. Minnesota pushed toward the net, but couldn’t make it past the Brown Bears defense.

“We showed up and played better in the second and third,” Dubinsky said, emphasizing that it’s difficult to come back after that with zero goals. “When we got the chances we buried them.”

Kenai’s Gramm McCormack scored the second goal, assisted by Tyler Pfister with less than two minutes left until the final buzzer, crushing Minnesota’s chances of coming back.

The Magicians pulled their goalie to try to score with less than one and a half minutes left, but the Brown Bears held them off.

Minnesota went zero for four on their power plays, while Kenai went one for two. The Magicians had 32 shots on goal and the Brown Bears had 30.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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