The Kenai River Brown Bears continued their resurgence in the North American Hockey League West Division standings with a 2-0 win against the Wenatchee Wild on Friday night in Washington.
“We fought hard and dug deep, and we’re very excited about the way the team played,” assistant coach Kyle Bailey said.
Alex Frere scored late in the first period off assists from Jacob Davidson and Jesse Ramsey to put the Bears on the board. Brett Lubanski doubled the score with 17 seconds remaining in the second period with a flip pass from Frere, even as Kenai was short-handed, due to a penalty given to Sean Muller.
Bailey said that goal essentially sealed the deal for Kenai.
Kenai goaltender Austin Severson saved all 27 shots that the Wild took at him, while Wenatchee’s goalkeeper, Greg Lewis, saved 23 of 25 shots.
“Austin played exceptionally well, it was his second career shutout (in the NAHL),” Bailey said. “Jacob Davidson played one of his best games of the season. He was a pivotal first player for our team tonight.”
Bailey said little was changed that has resulted in the team’s current two-game win streak.
“We’ve been trying to sharpen up our defensive zone in practice, so I think it’s working,” he said.
This win now puts the Bears only two points behind Fresno in the standings, as Fresno lost to Texas 6-2 on Friday. The Bears now have a record of 20-15-2. Wenatchee is sitting with a 21-11-4 record.
“If we can get a win tomorrow we’ll be tied with Fresno, so we’re going to try and make a playoff push, get over the hump and see what we can do,” Bailey said.
Kenai plays Wenatchee again Saturday at 6:05 p.m. AST.
Brown Bears 2, Wild 0
Kenai River 1 1 0 —2
Wenatchee 0 0 0 —0
First period — 1. Kenai River, Frere (Davidson, Ramsey) 18:23. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00, Wenatchee 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 2. Kenai River, Lubanski (Frere) 19:43. Penalties — 3 for 6:00, Wenatchee 4 for 16:00.
Third period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 7 for 20:00, Wenatchee 10 for 50:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 9-10-6—25; Wenatchee 10-5-12—27.
Goalies — Kenai River, Severson (27 shots-27 saves); Wenatchee, Lewis (25 shots-23 saves).
Power plays — Kenai 0 for 5, Wenatchee 0 for 5.