The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a goal by Dylan Contreras, center, during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a goal by Dylan Contreras, center, during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Brown Bears topped by Ice Dogs

The two teams play again Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The Kenai River Brown Bears took a 3-1 loss to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in Soldotna on Friday in North American Hockey League play.

The Brown Bears have lost their last 18 games. The Brown Bears are 12-30-4-0, have 28 points and are 8th in the Midwest Division. The Ice Dogs are 16-23-1-5, have 38 points and are 6th in the Midwest Division.

The Ice Dogs opened Friday’s game with a score only 24 seconds into play by Kyle Rohrer, off assists by Adam Timm and Reece Cordray. Fairbanks furthered their lead to 2-0 before the end of the first period — Luca Ricciardi with 13 minutes and 49 seconds left, assisted by Wyatt Carlson.

In the second period, Rohrer had another for the Ice Dogs, again within the first minute of play at 19:10, and again assisted by Cordray.

Dylan Contreras finally got the Brown Bears on the scoreboard roughly five minutes into the third period, on assists by Jacob Margarit and Samuel Sisik.

In the third period, the Brown Bears led the action and kept pressure on Fairbanks. Kenai River sent 15 shots at Ice Dog goalie Marcus Ouellet and saw only 8 returned at Kenai River goalie Marks Slavinskis-Repe.

In the final minute of the period, pushing for an opportunity, the Brown Bears swapped their goalie for a sixth player, but still couldn’t put another puck in the net, despite a few close opportunities that drew gasps from the crowd.

The Ice Dogs almost managed to capitalize on the opening, but Kenai River was saved by the buzzer, only the briefest moment before the puck slid in to their empty goal.

Throughout the game, Kenai River sent 33 shots, of which Ouellet blocked 32. The Ice Dogs sent 29 — Conor Sullivan faced 12 and blocked 9, Slavinskis-Repe faced 17 and blocked all of them.

The Kenai River Brown Bears and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs will play again tonight at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Kenai River’s Landon MacDonald moves with the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Landon MacDonald moves with the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Luke Hause works to keep the puck from Fairbanks’ Brent Gulenchyn and Nik Gudmundson during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Luke Hause works to keep the puck from Fairbanks’ Brent Gulenchyn and Nik Gudmundson during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a goal by Dylan Contreras, center, during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate a goal by Dylan Contreras, center, during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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