Special teams proved costly as the Kenai River Brown Bears dropped a 3-0 decision to the host Johnstown (Pennsylvania) Tomahawks on Friday in North American Hockey League play.
The Tomahawks scored power-play goals in the first and second periods and an empty-net goal in the third period to send the Bears to their fourth straight loss.
Kenai River is now 7-22-2-0 and sits in last place in the Midwest Division, while the Tomahawks are 22-7-1-1 and in second in the East Division.
The Bears drop the puck again with the Tomahawks on Saturday at 3 p.m. AST.
Kenai River head coach Jeff Worlton said his squad played Johnstown tougher Friday than in a three-game series in early October, when the Tomahawks swept with a total score of 16-5.
“I thought we played well, we just weren’t able to get any scoring,” Worlton said. “Our power play was not effective.
“It looks like we’re fighting to put the puck in the net.”
In the first period, the Bears gave up a goal fighting off a five-minute major.
“I thought five-on-five we played them straight up,” Worlton said. “It was a good game.
“Our defense played really well, we had good sticks, blocked shots and goaltender Robbie Goor made saves when he had to.
“Our offense is killing us right now.”
Kenai River had just one goal in its previous loss.
“We’re doing a good job cycling the puck, we just have to get it off the wall and get to the net in traffic,” Worlton said. “We have to bear down and pay the price to put the puck in the net.”
Goor had 26 saves for the Bears, while Drew Hotte stopped all 20 for Johnstown.
The Bears have traded Sviataslau Kuchynski to a Tier III team.
Defenseman Connor Fedorek has joined the team. Fedorek has a 1999 birthdate, meaning he can play three more years of junior hockey after this season.
Worlton said Fedorek has played well so far and the team is glad to have him.
Bears notes: Former Brown Bears played Alex Jackstadt had two goals in a 29-second stretch to lead the University of Alaska Anchorage to a 4-1 victory over Ferris State of Michigan on Friday.. It was the first two-point game of the sophomore’s collegiate career.
Tomahawks 3, Brown Bears 0
Kenai River 0 0 0 —0
Johnstown 1 1 1 —3
First period — 1. Johnstown, Ott (Buncis, Quetell), pp, 10:38. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 30:00; Johnstown 2 for 12:00.
Second period — 2. Johnstown, Bokun (Solensky, Horn), pp, 15:29. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Johnstown 1 for 2:00.
Third period — 3. Johnstown, Stork (un.), en, 19:50. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Johnstown 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 4-9-7—20; Johnstown 9-12-8—29.
Goalies — Kenai River, Goor (28 shots, 26 saves); Johnstown, Hotte (20 shots, 20 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 4; Johnstown 2 for 4.