Kenai River Brown Bears forward Max Helgeson chases the puck along the boards against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Max Helgeson chases the puck along the boards against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Brown Bears top Wilderness for 4th straight win

Staff report

The Kenai River Brown Bears won their home away from home opener Wednesday, topping the Minnesota Wilderness 3-1 in North American Hockey League play.

Due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the Bears are currently based in Breezy Point, Minnesota. The most recent schedule has the Bears returning to Alaska to play at the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on March 12, then hosting the real home opener against Fairbanks on March 19 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Kenai River is now 7-3-0-0, good for second place in the Midwest Division, though the first-place Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets have played three more games than the Bears. The Wilderness are 2-4-0-1 and are in last place in the Central Division, though all of those teams have played at least five more games than the Wilderness.

Max Helgeson, of Anchorage, and Theo Thrun were key factors in the victory, the fourth straight for Kenai River.

Helgeson put the Bears up 2-0 after two periods on a pair of power-play goals. Thrun and Adam Szubert assisted on both goals.

Then, 10:23 into the third period, Thrun scored on assists from Helgeson and Gramm McCormack.

Hunter Hastings broke up Luke Pavicich’s shutout attempt for Minnesota with just 1:22 left in the game.

The Bears travel to play the Minnesota Magicians on Friday and Saturday at 4 p.m. AKST.

Wednesday

Brown Bears 3, Wilderness 1

Minnesota 0 0 1 —1

Kenai River 1 1 1 —3

First period — 1. Kenai River, Helgeson (Thrun, Szubert), pp, 15:37. Penalties — Minnesota 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 2. Kenai River, Helgeson (Thrun, Szubert), pp, 19:15. Penalties — Minnesota 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.

Third period — 3. Kenai River, Thrun (Helgeson, McCormack), 10:23; 4. Minnesota, Hastings (un.), 18:38. Penalties — Minnesota 1 for 2:00.

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