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Brown Bears ready to face Windigo

The Kenai River Brown Bears will face the Wisconsin Windigo in North American Hockey League action Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

The Bears are in first place in the Midwest Division with a 9-4-1-0 record, while the Windigo are tied for last place at 4-8-0-0.

Kenai River is coming off a two-game sweep at the hands of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, while the Windigo have won two of their last three. The Bears own a pair of 4-3 victories over the Windigo this season.

Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said the Bears let one get away in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Ice Dogs on Friday, then Shaw said his team just didn’t have it in losing 3-1 on Saturday.

“We’re getting back to our details, not looking too far ahead and staying focused one day at a time,” Shaw said.

Shaw said every division opponent is tough, and the Windigo should not be overlooked. In the two-game series, Shaw said the Windigo got up and down the ice well, and got off a lot of shots, but Kenai River goalie Nils Wallstrom played well both nights.

The coach is expecting a boost from the crowd on Alaska Airlines weekend. Friday, a pair of tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies will be raffled off.

Kenai River also announced this week that forward Garett Drotts committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Vikings have been accepted into the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and will begin play in the 2023-24 season.

Drotts, who is 6-foot-0, 175 pounds and from Deer River, Minnesota, has seven goals and five assists in the first 14 games of his NAHL career. Kenai River picked him up in the second round of the 2022 NAHL Draft.

“When he showed up to camp in July, he started fast,” Shaw said. “We as a staff said if he continues on that trajectory, a Division I commit could happen quick for him.

“He was talking to several schools. It’s great for him, great for his family, and a good fit at AU.”

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