The Kenai River Brown Bears suffered a 6-4 loss Friday night to the Coulee Region Chill, giving up two third period goals after erasing a three-goal deficit earlier in the game at the Green Island Ice Arena in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
The loss dropped Kenai River’s record to 11-15-1, just one point ahead of last place in the North American Hockey League Midwest division standings with 23. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs (18-8-2) lead the division with 38 points.
It was the second straight game that the Bears yielded six goals to the Chill, and the eighth time in the last 12 games that the Bears have allowed four or more goals.
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 gamewinner 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.
The two teams will face off again at 4 p.m. (ADT) Saturday in LaCrosse.
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.