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Brown Bears to host Wolverines

The Kenai River Brown Bears take on the Anchorage Wolverines on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in North American Hockey League action at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Kenai River enters the series just one point out of first place in the tight Midwest Division, but needing to make up ground in the race for the Club 49 Cup.

The Bears are 13-9-1-0, good for 27 points. The Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets and Fairbanks Ice Dogs lead the division with 28 points. The Wolverines are sixth in the eight-team division with an 8-8-3-1 record for 20 points. Just 11 points separate the top and bottom of the division.

The battle for the Club 49 Cup looks a little more lopsided. In the contest for junior hockey supremacy in Alaska, both the Wolverines and Ice Dogs have seven points, while the Bears have one.

Kenai River is behind in the cup standings because the Bears have faced the Ice Dogs twice, going 0-1-1-0, and have yet to face the Wolverines. The Wolverines are 2-0-1-1 against the Ice Dogs this season.

The Wolverines began play in the NAHL last season and saw quick success, making the Robertson Cup final before losing to the New Jersey Titans 3-0.

Mike Aikens, who led the team in its first season, left to take an assistant job at St. Lawrence University in New York. Evan Trupp, an Wolverines assistant last season, took over as head coach this season.

Trupp played for Service High School and the Alaska Aces. He also is a two-time WCHA champion with the University of North Dakota.

Both teams have Southcentral talent on the roster.

For the Bears, Anchorage’s Bryce Monrean is tied for 11th in the league in scoring with 20 points and is committed to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Wasilla’s Bryant Marks, committed to Division I University of Alaska Anchorage, is tied for fifth in the league with a .932 save percentage and is 10th with a 2.08 goals-against average.

Kenai River also has forward Parker Lockwood of Kenai, defenseman Caleb Huffman of Anchorage and goalie Tommy Baker of Kenai.

The Wolverines have Trent Powell, a Soldotna skater and defenseman who is committed to Division I Long Island University. Aiden Westin, who is from Anchorage, is committed to UAF and is tied for sixth in the league with 22 points.

Other skaters from Anchorage are forward Cameron Morris, forward Revelin Mack, defenseman Andy Ramsey, defenseman Cooper Morris, defenseman Clay Allen, defenseman Colten Gerken and defenseman Peyton Van Buskirk.

The Bears are 4-6-1 on the current 15-game homestand. The last two teams to play the Bears — the Minnesota Wilderness and Springfield Jr. Blues — have given up the least amount of goals in the division.

The Wolverines are on the other end of the spectrum, with their 73 goals allowed being the second most in the league.

Anchorage has scored 63, while the Bears have scored 64 goals and allowed 61.

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