Series preview: Brown Bears vs. Coulee Region Chill

The Coulee Region (Wisconsin) Chill have gone five games without a win. The Kenai River Brown Bears have gone 14 games without a win.

The two meet for a three-game series at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, with 7:30 p.m. games tonight and Saturday, and a 3 p.m. puck drop Sunday.

“Something’s gotta give, right?” Kenai River head coach Geoff Beauparlant said. “Something’s gotta give.”

Last season, the Chill and the Bears were in a battle for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the North American Hockey League Midwest Division.

Coulee Region ended up losing its last seven games as the Bears made the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

However, the Chill didn’t let that disappointment carry over into this season.

They were lingering with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Minnesota Wilderness at the top of the Midwest Division standings before this current skid.

But even as it stands, they are in great position to make the playoffs. The Wilderness lead the division with 56 points, while Fairbanks has 53 points and the Chill (20-11-6) have 46.

Kenai River (11-25-2) with 24 points and the Minnesota Magicians with 28 points are battling for the final spot out of the division.

In Wisconsin in early December, Coulee swept the Brown Bears by scores of 6-2, 6-4 and 5-2.

“They’re deep and their goaltending is solid,” Beauparlant said. “They play a simple hockey game, but they compete and they work hard.”

Beauparlant said his team is coming around.

“I had a really good conversation with a friend of mine who watched all four games we played against Fairbanks,” Beauparlant said. “He’s nobody that’s associated with our organization, but he’s somebody I trust.

“He said that every game we were better and competing harder. He felt the team was getting closer to the way I want them to play and to the way the staff wants them to play.”

In particular, Beauparlant is happy with how the team is playing during five-on-five hockey. The big disparity in losing the last four games to Fairbanks was on special teams. Fairbanks was 9 for 19 on the power play, while the Bears were 0 for 17.

“Our special teams have to be better than they were against Fairbanks,” Beauparlant said.

The Bears will get forward Adam Kresl back for the Coulee series. Kresl had been out since mid-November.

That means Kenai River either has to cut somebody, or put somebody on injured reserve. Beauparlant said the team would decide late Thursday or today on the move, depending on whether Colton Fletcher has to be put on injured reserve with an ankle he injured against Fairbanks.

Notes: The Coulee series will be Central Peninsula Hospital cancer awareness weekend. Jerseys will be auctioned off Friday and Saturday.

Sunday’s 3 p.m. start will be half price for all fans — $7 for adults and $5 for kids.

More in Sports

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, races to victory in the Under-18 and over men's 10-kilometer interval start classic at Besh Cup 4 on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The Besh Cup races are mostly used to select skiers for Junior Nationals, but also give younger and older skiers a chance for top-notch racing. It took over 50 volunteers to put together the two days of races, which had over 200 skiers each day.
Kenai grad Danielson sweeps Besh Cup weekend at Tsalteshi

Both 2018 Kenai Central graduate Karl Danielson and the Besh Cup made… Continue reading

Ice Dogs sweep Brown Bears

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs got off to a solid start under new… Continue reading

Hoops Roundup: Wasilla sweeps SoHi; Ninilchik boys win Cordova tourney

The visiting Wasilla boys basketball team defeated Soldotna 66-60 on Saturday in… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a graduate of Kenai Central currently skiing for Alaska Pacific University, wins the Under-16 and over sprint at Besh Cup 3 on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai grad Danielson wins Besh 3 sprint

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, won the Under-16 and… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Erin Koziczkowski goes up for a shot against Nikiski on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai sweeps Nikiski Tip Off titles

The Kenai girls and boys swept the titles at the 30th Annual… Continue reading

Soldotna's Landon Stonecipher carries the puck against Homer on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer, SoHi split hockey games

The Homer and Soldotna hockey teams split junior varsity games Friday and… Continue reading

Kenai girls, Nikiski boys start tourney with wins

The Kenai girls, Lumen Christi girls, Bethel boys and Nikiski boys opened… Continue reading

Homer New reporter Sarah Knapp admires Alaska's beautiful landscape during a trip to Anchorage. (Photo by Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Sticking to New Year’s resolution

I’m still trying to find out where I belong in Homer. You’d… Continue reading

Ed Bangs in 1984  with the first female brown bear radio-collared on the Kenai. (Photo courtesy USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Blessed to live the Alaska dream

Note: In celebration of the Refuge’s 80th year, the Refuge Notebook articles… Continue reading

Most Read