Ice Dogs complete sweep of Brown Bears

A torrid second period lifted the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to a 5-1 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears on Sunday in North American Hockey League play in front of 247 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

The Ice Dogs scored all five of their goals in the second to assure a three-game road sweep over the Bears.

Fairbanks moves to 16-2-1 and has the best record in the league, while the Bears fall to a league-worst 1-18-0. Kenai River also has gone a franchise-high 16 games without a win or a point.

The Ice Dogs now lead the Ravn Alaska Cup, the battle for supremacy between the Dogs and Bears, 7-0. The squads play 16 times in a season, so Fairbanks needs two more wins to wrap up the cup.

“It’s always nice when you can get wins away from home,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said. “The guys stepped up in the second and third period.”

The Bears got on the board first Sunday when Jack Gessert shot into traffic, somehow recovered the puck from a jumble of sticks, then shot again past Fairbanks goalie CJ Boothe.

“I think too often we’re waiting for the perfect shot,” Kenai River head coach Geoff Beauparlant said. “You’re not going to score on the first shot many times in this league.

“That was a great second-effort goal by Jack.”

The Bears were outshot 13-8 in the first period, but Beauparlant said his team was able to keep the shots coming from the outside and stay up 1-0.

That changed in the second period.

“Whether it was on the rush or in our defensive-zone coverage, Fairbanks was able to get to the net in the second,” Beauparlant said.

The goals came quickly — Ryner Gorowsky at 16:19, Liam Stirtzinger at 10:24, Luke Orysiuk at 7:04, Gorowsky again at 2:26 and Cayden Cahill with 20 seconds left.

“They have to be able to, with our help, find a way to get through those lulls in the game,” Beauparlant said.

The coach said the game was really a simple tale of the teams being on even footing in the first and third periods when the Bears stuck to the game plan, and Fairbanks pulsing the lamp in the second period when the plan was abandoned.

“It is that simple,” Beauparlant said. “I said to the players, ‘When you played the way I asked you to and taught you to, it was 1-0 after the first and 0-0 in the third.’

“When they played outside the structure of what they were asked to do, it was 5-0 Fairbanks. It came down to compete level and in the second period, they out-competed us.”

The score was 3-1 with 9:33 left in the second period when the Bears had to kill off 1:45 of a five-on-three power play.

Beauparlant said the defense did a good job blocking shots, and goalie Brian Baker made nice saves in killing off the penalty.

“That should have given us energy, but instead they came back and scored after the power play,” Beauparlant said.

The coach called that a key goal because a 3-1 deficit heading into the third is much more manageable than 4-1 or 5-1.

“There are a lot of what ifs, and they need to stop being what ifs,” Beauparlant said. “It needs to be, ‘This is what happened.’

“We need to compete and sustain our structure for 60 minutes.”

Baker had 29 saves for the Bears, while Boothe stopped 18 for the Ice Dogs.

The Bears host the Coulee Region (Wisconsin) Chill on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the sports complex.

 

Sunday

Fairbanks 0 5 0 —5

Kenai River 1 0 0 —1

First period — 1. Kenai River, Gessert (un.), 17:48. Penalties — Fairbanks 1 for 4:00; Kenai River 1 for 4:00.

Second period — 2. Fairbanks, Gorowsky (Coomes, Burgess), 3:41; 3. Fairbanks, Stirtzinger (Plunkett, Kleven), 9:36; 4. Fairbanks, Orysiuk (Tomberlin, Stirtzinger), 12:56; 5. Fairbanks, Gorowsky (Burgess), 17:34; 6. Fairbanks, Cahill (Coomes, Burgess), 19:40. Penalties — Fairbanks 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.

Third period — none. Penalties — Fairbanks 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Shots on goal — Fairbanks 13-14-7—34; Kenai River 8-4-7—19.

Goalies — Fairbanks, Boothe (19 shots, 18 saves); Kenai River, Baker (34 shots, 29 saves).

Power plays — Fairbanks 0 for 4; Kenai River 0 for 4.

More in Sports

Soldotna's Wayne Mellon works to a pin of Kenai Central's Zoticus Active at 189 pounds in a dual meet at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestling honors seniors in matchup with Kenai

Thanksgiving weekend gives many the opportunity to see family. The holiday gave… Continue reading

tease
Strausbaugh, Hippchen take Turkey Skate

Soldotna hosted Kenai Central for the Turkey Skate at Tsalteshi Trails on… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski's Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.… Continue reading

Assistant coach Taylor Shaw leads the Kenai River Brown Bears during a game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears start search for new head coach

The Kenai River Brown Bears issued a press release Friday about staff… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean tries to find a way through the defense of the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues during a first-period power play Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Jr. Blues come back to take series from Bears

The Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues lost not only a 2020-21 season to… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

tease
Hockey roundup: SoHi sweeps in Kodiak; West wins End of Road tourney

The Soldotna hockey team swept Kodiak in the first high school games… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Caden Warren surveys the ice against West at the End of the Road Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai, Homer hockey lose to open tourney

The Kenai Central and Homer hockey teams both opened the End of… Continue reading

Caden Triggs of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrates his first-period goal against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topple Jr. Blues

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai River Brown Bears received two… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the… Continue reading