Kenai River’s Luke Hause moves with the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Luke Hause moves with the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Wolverines sweep Brown Bears

The Bears are 12-29-4-0, have 28 points and are 8th in the Midwest Division

The Kenai River Brown Bears were swept by Anchorage Wolverines, on Friday in Soldotna and Saturday in Anchorage, in North American Hockey League play.

The Brown Bears lost 5-3 on Friday and 10-1 on Saturday, leaving Kenai River at 17 straight losses. The Bears are 12-29-4-0, have 28 points and are 8th in the Midwest Division. The Wolverines are 25-13-2-2, have 54 points and are 3rd in the Midwest Division.

At the end of the first period on Friday, the Brown Bears and the Wolverines were tied 1-1. Anchorage’s Romulus Riego De Dios opened scoring roughly five minutes into the game off an assist by Jackson Stimple. With 35 seconds left in the first, Kenai River brought the tie on a goal by Brady Engelkes assisted by Luke Hause and Dylan Contreras.

In the second, Anchorage developed a 3-1 lead. Taisetsu Ushio scored for Anchorage in a five-on-three power play three minutes into the period, assisted by Bryce Monrean and Oliver Salo. Another goal game with roughly 10 minutes left in the second period, by Timothy Kim on assists by Tyler Hennen and Stimple.

“It’s tough to kill off that many penalties,” Brown Bears coach Taylor Shaw said after the game. “The second period hurt us tonight more than anything.

The Wolverines expanded their lead to 4-1 in the first minute of the third on a goal by Riego De Dios, assisted by Kim. Danny Bagnole got a final goal for the Wolverines, assisted by Monrean and Ushio two minutes left.

The Brown Bears tightened the score with two goals in the third. Samuel Sisik scored on assists by Contreras and Roope Tuomioksa with 11 minutes left. Contreras scored with only 9 seconds left on assists by Engelkes and Tuomioksa.

Shaw pointed to the goal by Sisik, with 11 minutes remaining, as a big opportunity despite the team being down on the scoreboard.

“You’re in a game then, at that point,” he said. “We’ve seen crazier stuff happen.”

Throughout the game, the Brown Bears put more pressure on Anchorage goalie Vaughn Makar than they received. They made 33 shots, of which Makar blocked 30. In return, Kenai River goalie Conor Sullivan saw only 24 shots, of which he blocked 19.

On Saturday, Kenai River’s lone goal was scored with two minutes left in the second period by Engelkes on assists by Kotaro Tsutsumi and Riley Mullen.

The Wolverines scored six goals in the second period, two of which happened during power plays. The Brown Bears saw 6 penalties during the game, while Anchorage only had 1.

Marks Slavinskis-Repe and Sullivan spent time tending the goal for Kenai River on Saturday. Slavinskis-Repe fended off 23 of 28 shots and Sullivan blocked 9 of 14. Anchorage goalie Liam Beerman only saw 21 shots, blocking 20.

The Kenai River Brown Bears will play a two game series against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs this weekend at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. Games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24, both at 7:30 p.m.

Kenai River’s Brady Engelkes and Anchorage’s Will Shepard battle for control of the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Brady Engelkes and Anchorage’s Will Shepard battle for control of the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Brady Engelkes and Anchorage’s Will Shepard battle for control of the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Friday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River’s Brady Engelkes and Anchorage’s Will Shepard battle for control of the puck during a hockey game at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Friday. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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