The Anchorage Wolverines finished a two-game North American Hockey League sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears with a 5-1 Saturday win at Ben Boeke Ice Arena in Anchorage.
The Bears had six penalties in the first half of the game and the Wolverines scored on three of those power plays to take a 4-0 lead by the midway point of the second period.
“It was a lot of stick infractions,” Kenai River head coach Taylor Shaw said. “Dumb penalties.”
The Bears drop to fifth place in the Midwest Division with a 19-18-1-1 record, good for 40 points. The Janesville (Wisconsin) Jets hold fourth place and the final playoff spot in the division with 41 points.
The Wolverines are 16-13-5-1, good for 38 points and sixth place in the division.
The Brown Bears return home to host the Wisconsin Windigo on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.
Jackson Reineke and Clay Allen scored in the first period for the Wolverines, while Oliver Doran and Reineke lit the lamp in the second period. Soldotna’s Trent Powell assisted on Reineke’s second-period goal.
Shaw then pulled goalie Nils Wallstrom after he had let in the four goals on 19 shots. Caleb Cross, added when Wasilla’s Bryant Marks went on injured reserve, stopped in and saved all 12 shots. Shaw said Marks’ injury is day-to-day.
“I don’t think it was Nils’ best weekend,” Shaw said. “I thought Caleb stepped in and did well. His first save in the league was a breakaway.”
Carson Triggs, assisted by Joe Manning and Ryan Finch, scored late in the second for the Bears. Wilson Dahlheimer had an empty-netter for Anchorage in the third period.
“I thought in the third period and the latter part of the second period, we sustained good pressure,” Shaw said. “It’s just hard when you spot a team that many goals on the road.”
Shane Soderwall stopped 26 for the Wolverines.
“We’re still right in the battle and it just takes a couple wins to get back in the thick of things,” Shaw said. “It’s going to take everyone getting back on track.
“We’re excited to be back in front of our home fans next weekend.”
Wolverines 5, Brown Bears 1
Kenai River 0 1 0 —1
Anchorage 2 2 1 —5
First period — 1. Anchorage, Reineke (Hennen, Haula), pp, 10:44; 2. Anchorage, Allen (Morris, Westin), pp, 12:22. Penalties — Kenai River 5 for 10:00; Anchorage 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 3. Anchorage, Doran (Dahlheimer, Nikolayena), 5:15; 4. Anchorage, Reineke (Nikolayenya, Powell), pp, 9:44; 5. Kenai River, Triggs (Manning, Finch), 16:33. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Anchorage 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 6. Anchorage, Dahlheimer (Nikolayenya, Hennen), en, 16:49. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 6-10-11—27; Anchorage 10-16-6—32.
Goalies — Kenai River, Wallstrom (19 shots, 15 saves); Cross (12 shots, 12 saves); Anchorage, Soderwall (27 shots, 26 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 2; Anchorage 3 for 6.