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Brown Bears snap 10-game skid

The Kenai River Brown Bears snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over the Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets on Saturday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in North American Hockey League play.

The Bears, who lost 4-1 to the Jets on Friday, had lost four times in extra time during the 10-game skid. Janesville saw a six-game winning streak end Saturday.

The Jets are 17-18-0-1 and in seventh in the Midwest Division, while the Bears improve to 8-25-3-2.

The two teams finish up the three-game series today at 5 p.m. at the sports complex.

Saturday, the Bears finished 4 of 8 on the power play, while Janesville was 1 of 4, though the Jets did get a short-hand goal.

Kevin Marx Noren gave the Bears a 1-0 lead after the first period on a power-play goal.

The Jets came out in the second period flying, grabbing a 4-2 lead by the time 5:17 remained in the second. Cy LeClerc, Cal Mell, Jonah Aegerter and Arsenii Smekhnov scored for Janesville, while Sean Henry had a goal for the Bears.

Smekhnov’s goal was on the power play, but Cole Dubicki ended up scoring on that power play to cut it to 4-3 entering the third.

Kenai River then scored all three of the third period’s goals. Marx Noren, Ryan Finch and Dubicki had the tallies.

Cole Wheaton stopped 28 for his first win in a Brown Bears uniform, while Michael D’Orazio had 26 saves.

Friday, Kenai River struck first in the game, with Hunter Newhouse, assisted by Dubicki, scoring on the power play.

With just 1:26 left in the first, Jack Larrigan knotted the game at 1.

“I thought we had a pretty good first period,” Kenai River interim head coach Taylor Shaw said. “We gave up a goal late, but we played 19 of the 20 minutes well.”

After the first period, Janesville gradually took control of the game even though the Jets lost the final shot count 29-22.

“We just got away from some little details on our own end,” Shaw said. “We were getting scoring chances, but as the game went on, we let our foot off the gas a bit, and we weren’t getting as many shots and chances.”

Jack Ford scored in the second period for the Jets, while Jan Lasak and Jimmy Doyle scored in the third.

Owen Millward stopped 28 for the Jets, while Wheaton saved 18 for the Bears.

“He played well and made the saves he’s supposed to make,” Shaw said of Wheaton.

Before the Friday game, Kenai River honored Alex Klekotka, who died Dec. 18, 2021, at the age of 23. Klekotka started playing with the Bears in the 2016-17 season and finished up playing with the team in the 2018-19 season.

Klekotka’s jersey was hung on the glass and there was a moment of silence.

“He’s still a part of the Brown Bears,” Shaw said. “Once you’re a Brown Bear, you’re a Brown Bear forever. I know the guys appreciated the moment of silence.”

Friday

Jets 4, Brown Bears 1

Janesville 1 1 2 —4

Kenai River 1 0 0 —1

First period — 1. Kenai River, Newhouse (Dubicki), pp, 7:30; 2. Janesville, Larrigan (Doyle, Daul), 18:34. Penalties — Janesville 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 3. Janesville, Ford (Mell, Keryluk), 3:21. Penalties — Janesville 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 4. Janesville, Lasak (LeClerc, Begg), 9:29; 5. Janesville, Doyle (Larrigan, Aegerter), 14:40. Penalties — Janesville 1 for 4:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.

Shots on goal — Janesville 7-7-8—22; Kenai River 13-9-7—29.

Goalies — Janesville, Millward (29 shots, 28 saves); Kenai River, Wheaton (22 shots, 18 saves).

Power plays — Janesville 1 for 3; Kenai River 1 for 2.

Saturday

Brown Bears 6, Jets 4

Janesville 0 4 0 —4

Kenai River 1 2 3 —6

First period — 1. Kenai River, Marx Noren (Dubicki), pp, 7:37. Penalties — Janesville 4 for 8:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 2. Janesville, LeClerc (un.), 4:03; 3. Janesville, Mell (un.), 8:01; 4. Kenai River, Henry (un.), 9:23; 5. Janesville, Aegerter (un.), pp, 13:56; 6. Janesville, Smekhnov (Lasak), sh, 14:43; 7. Kenai River, Dubicki (Zapata, Finch), pp, 15:48. Penalties — Janesville 4 for 8:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.

Third period — 8. Kenai River, Marx Noren (Monrean, Dubicki), pp, 0:32; 9. Kenai River, Finch (Anderson), 9:38; 10. Kenai River, Dubicki (un.), pp, en, 18:22. Penalties — Janesville 3 for 6:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Shots on goal — Janesville 8-15-9—32; Kenai River 2-17-13—32.

Goalies — Janesville, D’Orazio (31 shots, 26 saves); Kenai River, Wheaton (32 shots, 28 saves).

Power plays — Janesville 1 for 4; Kenai River 4 for 8.

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