The visiting Kenai River Brown Bears shut out the Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild on Friday night 2-0, which helped them gain some points in the North American Hockey League standings. However, the Wild put up an identical score against the Bears on Saturday to essentially nullify the weekend.
Wenatchee scored midway through the first period to make it 1-0, and with that score, Kenai hoped to make a comeback. Its hopes were dashed when Trace Redmond of Wenatchee scored on an empty net with 26 seconds left in the game to make it 2-0.
“They had a tough game, they just weren’t as sharp as Friday,” Bears assistant coach Kyle Bailey said. “Their goalie played a good game, and we missed a couple opportunities. Kenai goaltender Austin Severson saved 27 of 28 shots on the night, while Wenatchee goalie Robert Nichols saved all 25 shots Kenai threw at him.
“They were able to get to the crease faster, but we battled through,” Bailey said.
“We got Dawson coming up, and our goal is to come away with six points.”
Friday night was a different story.
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 has 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 weekend now puts the Bears only two points behind Fresno in the standings, which is good for fifth place. The Bears now have a record of 20-16-2. Wenatchee is sitting with a 22-12-4 record.
“We’re going to try and make a playoff push, get over the hump and see what we can do,” Bailey said.
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.
Wild 2, Brown Bears 0
Wenatchee 1 0 1 —2
Kenai River 0 0 0 —0
First period — 1. Wenatchee, Kerr (McHugh, Pauly) 10:22. Penalties — Wenatchee 3 for 9:00, Kenai River 3 for 17:00.
Second period — none. Penalties — Wenatchee 3 for 6:00, Kenai River 3 for 6:00.
Third period — 2. Wenatchee, Redmond (Lant) 19:34. Penalties — Wenatchee 1 for 2:00, Kenai River 0 for 0:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 7-10-8—25; Wenatchee 9-14-6—28.
Goalies — Kenai River, Severson (28 shots-27 saves); Wenatchee, Nichols (25 shots-25 saves).
Power plays — Kenai 0 for 4, Wenatchee 0 for 4.