The visiting Kenai River Brown Bears defeated the Wisconsin Windigo 4-3 on Saturday in North American Hockey League play to complete a two-game sweep.
“It feels pretty good for the group and obviously for the guys we had last year,” Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said. “We didn’t have a sweep in 60 games last year so to get this out of the way is huge for our group moving forward.”
The Bears are 6-3-0-0 and in second place in the Midwest Division, while the Windigo are 2-6-0-0 and in last in the division.
The Bears went down 2-0 on goals by Nicholas Babbie and Will Schumacher.
Bryce Monrean, assisted by Jack Anderson and Carson Triggs, scored late in the first to make it 2-1.
The Bears then killed off two five-on-three power plays. Shaw said Nils Wallstrom, who finished with 24 saves to the 25 of Wisconsin’s Maxwell Beckford, made some big saves, while Noah Holt, Caleb Huffman and Nick Stevens blocked a lot of shots on the penalty kill.
“Killing off the two five-on-threes fueled a little fire and we kept that momentum moving forward,” Shaw said.
Ashton Christman, assisted by Monrean, and Ryan Finch, assisted by Hunter Newhouse and Casper Conradsson Kelvgaard, made it 3-2 before Wisconsin’s Zachary Cline tied it headed to the third.
Inside five minutes to play, the Bears killed off a penalty, then Newhouse, assisted by Monrean and Hayden Walters, scored the game-winner with 48 seconds left. Shaw said Newhouse got a nice pass back and sniped the water bottle off the goalie’s cage.
“We certainly stole a game last night, but tonight we played better as a unit,” Shaw said.
The Bears now start a three-game series at the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Friday at 4:05 p.m. AKDT.
Brown Bears 4, Windigo 3
Kenai River 1 2 1 —4
Wisconsin 2 1 0 —3
First period — 1. Wisconsin, Babbie (Boche, Anderson), 4:01; 2. Wisconsin, Schumacher (Mahony, Mickel), pp, 11:14; 3. Kenai River, Monrean (Anderson, Triggs), 18:45. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 8:00; Wisconsin 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 4. Kenai River, Christman (Monrean), pp, 4:01; 5. Kenai River, Finch (Newhouse, Conradsson Kelvgaard), 5:44; 6. Wisconsin, Cline (Widlund, Boche), 7:31. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Wisconsin 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 7. Kenai River, Newhouse (Monrean, Walters), pp, 19:12. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Wisconsin 4 for 8:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 11-11-7—29; Wisconsin 11-12-4—27.
Goalies — Kenai River, Wallstrom (27 shots, 24 saves); Wisconsin, Beckford (29 shots, 25 saves).