Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Brown Bears' Jack Gessert outmaneuvers Janesville Jets' Taylor Fernandez during their game on Friday Nov. 20, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Brown Bears' Jack Gessert outmaneuvers Janesville Jets' Taylor Fernandez during their game on Friday Nov. 20, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Jets-Bears weekend wrapup

The Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets swept the Kenai River Brown Bears on Friday and Saturday in North American Hockey League play at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

The Jets won 5-3 on Friday and 7-3 on Saturday to move to 12-6-2. The Bears fall to 1-22-0 and have gone a franchise-high 20 games without a win or a point.

Friday, a strong snowstorm blew into the Kenai Peninsula, and so did the Jets.

As the winless streak that has seen Kenai River fail to build upon the two points they own in the Midwest Division continues, Bears coach Geoff Beauparlant said Friday’s game was another step in the right direction.

“Both times, we were down two goals, and we responded well,” Beauparlant said.

Twice the Bears found themselves in a two-goal deficit. Kenai River came back to tie it on one of those occasions, and closed the deficit to one on the other.

After giving up two goals in the first period, the Bears responded in the second with goals from Jason Lem and Gunnar Goodmanson.

“They were up 2-0 on mistakes, I thought,” Beauparlant said. “The second period, I thought we controlled most of the second half, and then they scored two quick goals in the third.

“But we battled back, and we didn’t have a big lull, we didn’t have a collapse like previous games.”

Janesville’s two early strikes mirrored each other as a Jets player managed to get the puck in the crease for the goal. Taylor Fernandez was left unmarked in the crease just over three minutes into the game and received the assist from behind the net by Zach Solow to score.

Solow scored late in the period on a power play, swooping in from the left wing to score on a rebound attempt with eight seconds left in the extra-man advantage. The Jets ended 2 for 4 on the power play.

Lem scored his first goal with the Brown Bears 4:36 into the second period, corralling the puck soon after a faceoff and sending the puck from long range into a scrum at the net to put Kenai River on the board.

A brilliant play by Blake Carrick set up the Bears’ game-tying goal nearly 10 minutes later. Carrick outmaneuvered a Jets defender to find himself on a one-on-one with Janesville goalie Jack LaFontaine, who stopped the first shot but allowed the second rebound shot by Goodmanson.

“That was a really nice play by Blake, he has that higher-end skill to make those plays,” Beauparlant said. “He’s learning when to use that skill, and that was the right time.”

Janesville coach Joe Dibble attributed the second period breakdowns to lazy hockey, adding that even a team like the 1-20-0 Bears can easily take advantage.

“We came out like the game was over, and that’s the worst thing you can do,” Dibble said.

Entering the third period tied at 2, the Brown Bears were staring at their best chance to break the losing skid.

Two quick goals by the Jets changed that. Jake Bresser took the puck up the left wing side and took a chance that was denied, but John Peterson caught the rebound and delivered the go-ahead strike.

Dibble praised Bresser for opening up space on the outside areas, a strategy that continued to dog the Bears all game long.

“It’s the biggest sheet of ice I’ve seen,” Dibble said, looking at the Olympic-sized rink. “We have some forwards that can skate, and we wanted to beat their defensemen on the outside.”

Cole Paskus and Adam Winborg added further goals for the Jets, while Tanner Dufault notched a power-play goal for Kenai River with 6:20 to play, closing the gap to 4-3.

All five Janesville goals were scored by five different players, and the Jets outshot the Bears 43-26.

Dibble said he implored his squad to put forth a full 60 minutes of effort, and it was ultimately a few moments of mental lapse that caught the Jets off guard.

“Kenai showed what they’re capable of,” he said. “When you look at their record, you think it’s going to be an easy series? That’s not the case.

“They’re going to pop, and once they pop, they’re going to be a team that you got to look out for a bit.”

Saturday, Beauparlant said a slow start and sloppy penalties in the third period cost his team.

Janesville jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first before Justin Bofshever and Adam Kresl scored to narrow the gap to 3-2 at the end of one.

“We started slow but had a great push back and had a solid second period,” Beauparlant said.

Janesville had the lone goal of the second as the Bears failed to capitalize on four power-play chances.

“In the third, we took some selfish penalties and had three power-play goals against,” Beauparlant said.

Cameron Cook was able to score short-handed to cut the gap to 5-3, but the Bears yielded a power-play goal just 28 seconds later.

Nick Nast had 34 saves for Kenai River, while Blake Weyrick had 33 saves for the Jets.

Beauparlant said Kresl, Carrick and Cook all had solid games.

“We just didn’t work hard enough or smart enough to earn two points,” Beauparlant said.

Kenai River hosts the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Friday

Jets 5, Brown Bears 3

Janesville 2 0 3 —5

Kenai River 0 2 1 —3

1st period — 1. Janesville, Fernandez (Smits, Solow), 3:15; 2. Janesville, Solow (Munson, Alderfer), pp, 11:32. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00.

2nd period — 3. Kenai River, Lem (Kresl, Carlson), 4:36; 4. Kenai River, Goodmanson (Carrick, Cook), 14:16. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

3rd period — 5. Janesville, Peterson (Bresser, Maloney), 2:17; 6. Janesville, Paskus (Roeder, Rygaard), 3:49; 7. Kenai River, Dufault (Butcher, Gessert), pp, 13:40; 8. Janesville, Winborg (Fernandez, Roye), pp, 16:28. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Janesville 3 for 6:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-12-6—26; Janesville 12-19-12—43.

Goalies — Kenai River, Baker (43 shots, 38 saves); Janesville, LaFontaine (26 shots, 23 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 1; Janesville 2 for 4.

Saturday

Jets 7, Brown Bears 3

Janesville 3 1 3 —7

Kenai River 2 0 1 —3

First period — 1. Janesville, Wareham (Paskus, Grissom), 5:05; 2. Janesville, Munson (Alderfer, Paskus), 8:19; 3. Janesville, Solow (Ekberg, Winborg), 10:10; 4. Kenai River, Bofshever (Keane, Lem), 15:06; 5. Kenai River, Kresl (Fasegha, Cook), pp, 19:11. Penalties — Janesville 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.

Second period — 6. Janesville, Fernandez (Solow, Roye), 17:01. Penalties — Janesville 4 for 8:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.

Third period — 7. Janesville, Fernandez (Bresser, Roye), pp, 4:32; 8. Kenai River, Cook (Carrick, Evingson), sh, 14:37; 9. Janesville, Roye (Bresser, Winborg), pp, 15:05; 10. Janesville, Roye (Bresser, Sundberg), pp, 19:32. Penalties — Janesville 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.

Shot on goal — Janesville 17-7-17—41; Kenai River 13-13-10—36.

Goalies — Janesville, Weyrick (36 shots, 33 saves); Kenai River, Nast (41 shots, 34 saves).

Power plays — Janesville 3 for 6; Kenai River 1 for 6.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  A woman watches Kenai River Brown Bears' Jack Gessert after he battles for control of the puck in one of the corners during a game against the Janesville Jets on Friday Nov. 20, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A woman watches Kenai River Brown Bears’ Jack Gessert after he battles for control of the puck in one of the corners during a game against the Janesville Jets on Friday Nov. 20, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Members of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate after a goal during their game against Janeseville Jets on Friday Nov. 20, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Members of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrate after a goal during their game against Janeseville Jets on Friday Nov. 20, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

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