Prospects tournament gives 4 Bears chance to advance

As part of an effort to help some of the Kenai River Brown Bears players move up in their careers, the starting time has been moved up for Saturday’s game between the Brown Bears and Johnstown (Pennsylvania) Tomahawks.

The game will start at 7 p.m. in order to allow Jack Gessert, Maurin Bouvet, Tyler Andrews and Tanner Schachle time to catch a flight to the North American Hockey League Top Prospects Tournament on Monday and Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Last season, over 180 scouts attended the event, and a third of the players there ended up with an NCAA Division I opportunity.

Gessert, Bouvet and Andrews will be on the Midwest Division roster. Gessert, a forward, leads the team with 36 points, while Bouvet, a forward, has 32. Andrews, a defenseman, is third on the team with 26 points.

Bears head coach Geoff Beauparlant, who also will attend the tournament, said Gessert has been drawing Division I interest.

He added that the tournament is a great chance for Bouvet, who is from France, to get his name out there, since imports face different sets of rules and eligibility requirements.

The coach also sees the tournament as crucial for Anchorage’s Andrews. Beuparlant said Andrews is drawing Division I interest. Unlike Gessert and Bouvet, Andrews is out of junior eligibility after this season.

Schachle, meanwhile, has a chance to burnish his reputation as a top young prospect as part of the NAHL Selects roster. This roster is made up of the top young players in the league.

“He’s played his best hockey of the year these past five games,” Beauparlant said of Schachle, a forward from Wasilla. “He’s been solid in practice, and you can see his confidence growing every day.

“He’s finding the back of the net in practice more, and that has translated into more scoring chances in the games.”

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