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Friday: Ice Dogs hold off Brown Bears

The Kenai River Brown Bears dropped a 2-1 decision to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks on Friday in North American Hockey League play.

Kenai River will finish its season with a 7:30 p.m. game against the Ice Dogs on Saturday.

Friday’s loss means the Brown Bears will finish last in the Club 49 Cup and last in the Midwest Division.

In the Club 49 Cup, the Anchorage Wolverines were the runaway winner and have 38 points, while the Ice Dogs have 19 and the Bears have 15.

In the Midwest Division, the Bears are 19-34-4-2 and have 44 points, while the Ice Dogs are in seventh place at 20-29-2-6, good for 48 points.

Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said the problem Friday was Kenai River waited until the third period to really turn it up.

The Bears outshot the Ice Dogs 14-11 in the first period, 11-7 in the second period and 16-4 in the third period.

“I didn’t think we were at our best level the first two periods,” Shaw said. “I think we woke up going into that third period.

“And it showed. I don’t remember them having much of the puck in the zone.”

After a scoreless first period, Kyle Rohrer had two goals in the second period for Fairbanks, including one on the power play.

Fixing the penalty kill was a focus for the Bears this week.

“The in-zone didn’t kill us, it was just on the entry,” Shaw said. “So it’s a start.”

In the third period, Owen Hanson, assisted by Thomas Gunderson and Luke Lizak, scored for the Bears with 6:36 left.

With that momentum, the Bears went on the power play with 6:11 left but couldn’t capitalize.

“It was better there in the third period,” Shaw said of the power play. “We got looks. We had power plays in the first two periods and we didn’t have a ton of zone time.”

Shaw also said the Bears had some great chances after pulling the goalie.

Tyler Krivtsov had 40 saves for the Ice Dogs, while AJ Reyelts stopped 20 for the Bears.

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