The Coulee Region Chill broke out the brooms Saturday night at the Green Island Ice Arena in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, after completing a three-game sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears with a 5-2 win.
After losing 6-4 on Friday, Saturday’s loss dropped Kenai River’s record to 11-16-1, just one point ahead of the last place Minnesota Magicians in the North American Hockey League Midwest division standings with 23. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs (18-8-2) lead the division with 38 points.
Kenai River gave up a total of 17 goals to Coulee Region in the series, and it was the ninth time in the last 13 games that the Bears have allowed four or more goals.
Saturday, Coulee Region’s man advantage proved too powerful to contain — the Chill went 2 for 3 on the power play — and outshot the Bears 38-34, even with an 11-5 shot deficit in the third period.
Matt Rudin scored both of Kenai River’s goals Saturday, including the opening strike just over three minutes into the game with an assist from Ben Campbell.
Charlie Parker answered for the Chill with a goal three minutes later to tie things up. It was Parker’s third goal in the last two games, and with just over three minutes to play in the period, Blake Kelley wrapped up a Coulee Region power play with a go-ahead goal to give the Chill a 2-1 lead after one frame of action.
Once again, Rudin responded with a goal for Kenai River to knot the game up at two apiece at the 6:16 mark of the second period, but Garrett Riebling erased the effort with the game-winning goal with 7:24 left to play in the period.
In the third period, the Chill received insurance goals from Dawson DiPietro and Kelley late in the frame. Kelley ended the night with two goals and an assist.
Josh Creelman (5-6-1) took the loss in goal for the Bears, stopping 33 of 38 shots along the way. After beginning the season 5-4, Creelman has been credited with three straight losses as goalie.
Friday, the Brown Bears suffered a 6-4 loss to the Chill, giving up two third period goals after erasing a three-goal deficit earlier in the game.
Friday, it was Alec Derks (4-4-0) taking the loss in the net, stopping 32 of 37 shots on goal.
Coulee Region started quick with three goals in the first period, getting strikes from Charlie Parker, Richard Zehnal and Garrett Riebling. Zehnal’s score was short-handed. The Chill also outshot Kenai River 11-7 in the frame.
The second period featured a different look, as the Brown Bears rallied back with three goals of their own, starting with Jack Gessert’s power play strike 8 minutes, 26 seconds, into the period with help from Austin Chavez. Gessert ended with a pair of goals in the game.
Colton Fletcher and Ben Campbell added two more goals in the final 3-1/2 minutes of the period.
However, only 57 seconds into the final period, Isaac Theisen mailed home the game-winner with assists from Riebling and Ondrej Zehnal.
Charlie Parker added an insurance goal midway through the period, although Gessert took it back just 18 ticks later with his second goal of the game. Adam Lovick scored an empty-netter with two seconds left in the game.
Chill 5, Brown Bears 2
Kenai River 1 1 0 —2
Coulee Region 2 1 2 —5
1st period — 1. Kenai River, Rudin (Campbell), 3:19; 2. Coulee, Parker (Miller, Rafferty), 6:14; 3. Coulee, Kelley (Rafferty), PP, 16:50. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
2nd period — 4. Kenai River, Rudin (Gessert, Klishko), 6:16; 5. Coulee, Riebling (O. Zehnal, Doran), 12:36. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 6:00; Coulee Region 3 for 8:00.
3rd period — 6. Coulee, DiPietro (Florian, Kelley), 15:18; 7. Coulee, Kelley (Lovick, Lang), PP, 16:49. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Coulee Region 4 for 8:00.
Shots — Kenai River 12-11-11—34; Coulee Region 16-17-5—38.
Goalies — Kenai River, Creelman (38 shots, 33 saves); Coulee Region, Carlson (34 shots, 32 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 5; Coulee Region 2 for 3.
Chill 6, Brown Bears 4
Kenai River 0 3 1 —4
Coulee Region 3 0 3 —6
1st period — 1. Coulee, Parker (Miller, Lang), 3:56; 2. Coulee, R. Zehnal (Lovick), SH, 8:58; 3. Coulee, Riebling (Rutkowski, O. Zehnal), 17:46. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Coulee Region 1 for 2:00.
2nd period — 4. Kenai River, Gessert (Chavez), PP, 8:26; 5. Kenai River, Fletcher (Ehlers), 16:31; 6. Kenai River, Campbell (unassisted), 18:57. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Coulee Region 1 for 2:00.
3rd period — 7. Coulee, Theisen (Riebling, O. Zehnal), :57; 8. Coulee, Parker (Miller, Luka), 11:35; 9. Kenai River, Gessert (Bouvet, Wunder), 11:53; 10. Coulee, Lovick (Lang, R. Zehnal), EN, 19:58. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Coulee Region 1 for 2:00.
Shots — Kenai River 7-15-7—29; Coulee Region 11-13-14—38.
Goalies — Kenai River, Derks (37 shots, 32 saves); Coulee Region, Carlson (29 shots, 25 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 2; Coulee Region 0 for 4.