Kenai River Brown Bears goalie Gavin Enright gets help from the pipe Thursday, March 15, 2018, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears goalie Gavin Enright gets help from the pipe Thursday, March 15, 2018, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Jr. Blues defeat Brown Bears

The Springfield Jr. Blues scored a short-handed goal with 2 minutes, 32 seconds, left in the game for a 4-3 North American Hockey League victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears on Thursday night at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Dylan Rauh had the game-winner.

“The kid came down on the rush and had a backhand bar down,” Kenai River head coach Josh Petrich said. “I give him credit. It was a hell of a play.

“We just got a little lackadaisical on the power play.”

Rauh’s effort sent the Bears to a seventh straight loss. Kenai River will try and get back in the win column with 7:30 p.m. games today and Saturday against the Blues at the sports complex.

Springfield moves to 26-21-5-1 overall and is third in the Midwest Division, three points ahead of the fourth-place Minnesota Magicians and 15 points ahead of the Coulee Region (Wisconsin) Chill for the final playoff spot out of the Midwest.

The Brown Bears fall to 15-35-1-2 and have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Petrich said the game had a slow start, with Springfield getting the only goal of the first period.

“I thought we had our chances in the first period too, though it is good (goalie Gavin Enright) kept it 1-0,” Petrich said.

Springfield is second in the league on the power play, and that unit struck with its only chance of the night top open the scoring in the second period.

Eagle River’s Sutton McDonald got the Bears back to 2-1 to open a flurry of scoring in the final five minutes of the second period. Springfield’s Nick Schultze and Kenai River’s Filip Karlsson also would score before the period was out.

“I thought it was good for a Thursday night game,” Petrich said. “The crowd was good and it was two eager teams looking for a win.

“It took awhile to get going, but the last half was fast and a lot of fun.”

Lukas Millen tied it up for the Bears with 11 minutes left in the game, but special teams ended up dooming the Bears. Springfield has the worst penalty kill in the league. Petrich said the Bears had plenty of good chances on the power play, but it was the short-handed goal that ended up deciding the game.

Evan Fear stopped 21 shots for the Jr. Blues, while Enright stopped 27 for the Bears.

Jr. Blues 4, Brown Bears 3

Springfield 1 2 1 — 4

Kenai River 0 2 1 — 3

First period — 1. Springfield, Mickelson (Carabelli, Muzzillo), 9:59. Penalties — Springfield 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 2. Springfield, Brainin (Mickelson, Stewart), pp, 8:19; 3. Kenai River, S. McDonald (Rosa, Kaplan), 15:55; 4. Springfield, Schultze (Walter, Sterne), 17:01; 5. Kenai River, Karlsson (C. McDonald, Millen), 17:39. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Third period — 6. Kenai River, Millen (Karlsson, Komuls), 9:00; 7. Springfield, Rauh (Schultze, Fineman), sh, 17:28.

Shots on goal — Springfield 13-9-9—31; Kenai River 10-9-5—24.

Goalies — Springfield, Fear (24 shots, 21 saves); Kenai River, Enright (31 shots, 27 saves).

Power plays — Springfield 1 for 1, Kenai River 0 for 2.

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Sacha Guillemain and Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues forward Patrick Smyth battle for the puck Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Sacha Guillemain and Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues forward Patrick Smyth battle for the puck Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Zach Krajnik tries to score late in the first period but is blocked by Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues defenseman Fletcher Fineman and goalie Evan Fear on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Zach Krajnik tries to score late in the first period but is blocked by Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues defenseman Fletcher Fineman and goalie Evan Fear on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Sports

tease
Week 2 preview: Homer opens up conference slate

Homer will be the first Kenai Peninsula football team to jump into… Continue reading

People camp above a river on Sunday, July 31, 2022 near Hope, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Festival season

Something nobody told me about Alaska is how many festivals there are… Continue reading

tease
Brown Bears to hold Fall Classic on Saturday

The Kenai River Brown Bears of the North American Hockey League will… Continue reading

tease
Mineshaft Grinder gets 62 finishers

The Mineshaft Grinder in Hope, put on by the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm… Continue reading

tease
SoHi senior finishes 3rd at Alaska State Amateur

While Anchorage’s Greg Sanders was understandably grabbing headlines for winning his 10th… Continue reading

Kenai Central junior Greg Fallon takes the lead for good at the Kenai-Soldotna dual meet Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Verdict from Kenai-SoHi dual: Nikiski trails are harder than Tsalteshi

Nice try, Anna Widman. Widman is the new Kenai Central cross-country coach… Continue reading

Homer's Jake Tappan rushes against Kodiak on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
Mariners start season strong against Bears; Nikiski, Seward drop games

It may have been raining as the Homer football team took on… Continue reading

tease
Hansen competes at North American Rollerski Biathlon Championships

Justin Hansen, a 2022 graduate of River City Academy, said competing at… Continue reading

Most Read