Kenai River Brown Bears forward Theo Thrun brings the puck up the ice on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, against the Minnesota Magicians at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Theo Thrun brings the puck up the ice on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, against the Minnesota Magicians at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Brown Bears split weekend games with Steel

The Kenai River Brown Bears split a pair of North American Hockey League games with the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel on Friday and Saturday at the Chippewa Area Ice Arena.

The Bears won 4-2 on Friday before dropping a 4-3 contest on Saturday.

The Bears, at 3-1-0-0, remain tied for the Midwest Division lead with the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets. The Steel are in third at 1-3-0-0, the Minnesota Magicians have yet to play a game, and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs are in last at 0-4-0-0.

Kenai River head coach Kevin Murdock said his team continues to make too many mistakes, giving the opposition opportunities.

“As nice as it is to win games, when you’re not winning the right way it comes back to bite you in the butt sooner rather than later,” he said.

Friday, after a scoreless first period, Liam Hansson and Ethan Heidepriem got Chippewa out to a 2-0 lead just 2:39 in to the second period. Less than two minutes after Heidepriem’s goal, though, Wasilla’s Porter Schachle, assisted by Brandon McNamara, had the Bears on the comeback trail. With 11:04 left in the second, Dylan Hadfield tied things up with an unassisted goal.

With 6:30 to play in the game, Jeffrey Lee, assisted by Max Helgeson of Anchorage and Lucas Wahlin, gave the Bears the lead. Then Daymin Dodge scored unassisted and short-handed for a 2-0 lead with 3:38 to play.

Danny Fraga stopped 43 for the Bears, while Gus Bylin made 17 saves for the Steel.

“It was nice to see the resilience after we got down by two,” Murdock said. “Danny played really well on Friday.”

Saturday was a back and forth affair. Adam Beauvais put the Bears up 1-0 in the first, but Chippewa tied it before the end of the first.

In the second, Chippewa went out ahead, but Brandon McNamara tied it heading to the third.

With 17:58 to play, Theo Thrun, assisted by McNamara, gave the Bears the lead. But by the time 12:17 was left to play, the Bears were down 4-3 and couldn’t find the equalizer.

Fraga stopped a penalty shot, making 26 saves overall, while Grant Boldt had 30 saves for the Steel.

Murdock said the Bears were a little beaten up after three games in three days. Forward Peter Morgan didn’t play all weekend, and Helgeson didn’t play Saturday. Kenai River dressed 13 forwards Saturday, but the Bears were down to 10 forwards for an extended period.

“Three games in three days is tough,” Murdock said. “It’s nice to have a few days off before we go to Janesville.”

Kenai River plays at Janesville on Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m. AKST.

Friday

Brown Bears 4, Steel 2

Kenai River 0 2 2 —4

Chippewa 0 2 0 —2

First period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Chippewa 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 1. Chippewa, Hansson (Ryder, Waltman), 1:03; 2. Chippewa, Heidepriem (Hansson), 2:39; 3. Kenai River, Schachle (McNamara), 4:26; 4. Kenai River, Hadfield (none), 8:56. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Chippewa 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 5. Kenai River, Lee (Helgeson, Wahlin), 13:30; 6. Kenai River, Dodge (none), sh, 16:22. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 19:00; Chippewa 3 for 17:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-11-2—21; Chippewa 20-14-11—45.

Goalies — Kenai River, Fraga (45 shots, 43 saves); Chippewa, Bylin (21 shots, 17 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 2; Chippewa 0 for 5.

Saturday

Steel 4, Brown Bears 3

Kenai River 1 1 1 —3

Chippewa 1 1 2 —4

First period — 1. Kenai River, Beauvais (none), 1:58; 2. Chippewa, Baker (Lindstrom), 3:25. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Chippewa 3 for 27:00.

Second period — 3. Chippewa, Waltman (Lindstrom), pp, 9:38; 4. Kenai River, McNamara (un.), 14:09. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 8:00; Chippewa 3 for 6:00.

Third period — 5. Kenai River, Thrun (McNamara), 2:02; 6. Chippewa, Hansson (Waltman), 4:20; 7. Chippewa, Bacallao (Black, Gotovets0, pp, 7:43. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 19:00; Chippewa 2 for 15:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 15-12-6—33; Chippewa 8-16-6—30.

Goalies — Kenai River, Fraga (30 shots, 26 saves); Chippewa, Boldt (33 shots, 30 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 3; Chippewa 2 for 5.

More in Sports

Kenai Central's Reagan Graves gets ready to score a goal while Camden Kovach defends Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, at the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai hockey edges Juneau in overtime

The Kenai Central hockey team defeated Juneau-Douglas 5-4 in overtime Saturday in… Continue reading

Nick Stevens of the Kenai River Brown Bears tries to squeeze by the check of Bohdan Panasenko of the Anchorage Wolverines on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Friday: Brown Bears defeat Wolverines

Resilience is nothing new for Cole Dubicki and the small group of… Continue reading

Brandonn Campbell of Juneau-Douglas keeps the puck from Dylan Arno of Homer on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Hockey roundup: SoHi to play for title; Homer wins

The Soldotna hockey team defeated Palmer 4-3 in overtime Friday to advance… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi wins, Homer ties

The Soldotna hockey team opened the Big Lake Lions Classic with a… Continue reading

Former Kenai River Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
Former Kenai River Brown Bears head coach Kevin Murdock.
Former Bears coach Murdock accepts UAA assistant job

Kevin Murdock, former head coach of the Kenai River Brown Bears, has… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Parker Lockwood attacks against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Refreshed Brown Bears ready for Wolverines

The North American Hockey League does not break for Thanksgiving, but the… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong and his dog Leia harvest a Christmas tree in December 2013 on his land on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Out of the Office: For Alaska Bush cred, head out and harvest a Christmas tree

If you don’t have your own tree lot, harvest trees on public lands.

Sun coming through snow-covered branches with cross-country ski tracks on trail. (Photo by Ashley Lutto/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: It’s more fun than walking

I’m not sure which one of us was more excited about the… Continue reading

Soldotna's Wayne Mellon works to a pin of Kenai Central's Zoticus Active at 189 pounds in a dual meet at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestling honors seniors in matchup with Kenai

Thanksgiving weekend gives many the opportunity to see family. The holiday gave… Continue reading

Most Read