The Kenai River Brown Bears suffered their worst loss of the season Friday night in front of 2,142 fans at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks, dropping a 9-1 game to their division rivals Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
The loss left Kenai River (8-10-0) in last place in the North American Hockey League Midwest division with 16 points, two behind the Coulee Region (Wisconsin) Chill. Fairbanks (13-6-1) bolstered its division lead to 27 points, five more than the Minnesota Magicians.
Fairbanks forwards Yannick Vedel and Jacob Hetz each had a pair of goals, while teammate Chandler Madry notched a goal and a pair of assists. Adam Kleven added three assists as well for the Ice Dogs.
Jack Gessert opened scoring for the night on a power play goal 5 minutes, 28 seconds, into the game, getting help from Joseph Kaszupski and Matt Rudin to put Kenai River ahead.
The goal was Gessert’s 12th of the season, tied for second in the NAHL and making up a quarter of the Brown Bears’ total scoring in 2014 thus far.
From there, however, things went from bad to worse for the Bears. Just over a minute later, Fairbanks’ Robin Karlsson scored the tying goal with an assist from Lonnie Clary.
Fairbanks scored twice more in the final 62 seconds of the first period, as Hetz notched the go-ahead goal late in the frame, followed by a short-handed goal from Madry as time expired.
Hans Gorowsky, Vedel and Hetz each scored in the second period to push the lead to 6-1, and Todd Burgess, Vedel and Caydin Cahill each scored in the third frame. Cahill’s goal was the second short-handed conversion for Fairbanks on the night.
Patrick Munson got the win in goal for the Ice Dogs, stopping 27 of 28 shots. Josh Creelmen took the loss for the Brown Bears with 24 saves on 33 shots.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Ice Dogs 9, Brown Bears 1
Ice Dogs 3 3 3 —9
Brown Bears 1 0 0 —1
1st Period — 1. Kenai River, Gessert (Kaszupski, Rudin), PP, 5:28; 2. Fairbanks, Karlsson (Clary), 6:39; 3. Fairbanks, Hetz (Madry, Kleven), 18:58; 4. Fairbanks, Madry (Kleven), SH, 20:00. Penalties — Fairbanks 4 for 26:00.
2nd Period — 5. Fairbanks, Gorowsky (Kleven), 6:34; 6. Fairbanks, Vedel (Clary, Stridsberg), 9:54; 7. Fairbanks, Hetz (Madry, Burgess), PP, 12:37. Penalties — Kenai River 8 for 37:00, Fairbanks 5 for 21:00.
3rd Period — 8. Fairbanks, Burgess (unassisted), 9:25; 9. Fairbanks, Vedel (Stridsberg), 15:33; 10. Fairbanks, Cahill (Skelly), SH, 19:23. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00, Fairbanks 2 for 4:00.
Shots — Kenai River 12-9-7—28. Fairbanks 10-14-9—33.
Goalies — Kenai River, Creelman (33 shots, 24 saves); Fairbanks, Munson (28 shots, 27 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 7; Fairbanks 1 for 7.