The Kenai River Brown Bears rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second period to post a much-needed 5-2 victory over Dawson Creek (British Columbia) on Thursday.
“It was a well-executed game, and quite a good offensive display, and we created opportunities because of the offensive creativity,” head coach Oliver David said. “We got away from team defense that took a toll on us in the second period.”
After a scoreless first period, the Rage were able to score two quick goals in the first 80 seconds of the second period, as Scott Fellnermayr and Shawn Mueller were able to convert assists.
However, the Bears came back two minutes later with a shot from Brett Lubanski, with assists from Chris Nuth and Jacob Davidson.
At the 4:42 mark of the second period, Vincent Stefan scored the tying goal, one which David said was the game-changer.
“It was a great shot, and he’s obviously excited. After that, the momentum shifted to us,” David said.
David praised the whole team to a good effort, especially the offensive front line of Alex Frere, Zac Lazzaro and Nuth.
“They have been our offensive line for about seven games now, dating to before our road trip,” David said.
“They’re clicking really well, and have been producing a lot of good offensive plays.”
After Bobby Murphy scored the tiebreaking goal halfway through the second period on a power play, Nuth scored the final two goals in the third period to seal the win.
Austin Severson saved 27 of 29 shots on the night, while Dawson Creek’s goaltender, Paul Bourbeau, saved 33 of 38.
David mentioned that Bourbeau, who was recently let go from the Bears, nevertheless put up a good effort.
“We traded him January 10th, and it was exciting to see him out there, and he did a good job,” David said.
This win now brings Kenai River into a tie with Fresno for fourth place in the North American Hockey League West Division standings, with 44 points apiece. It also means they would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. The Bears record now stands at 21-16-2.
“We still have games on them and we’ve been in this spot the whole time,” David said. “We know what games we should earn points in, and tonight we felt this is a game to gain momentum.
“It’s going to be tight until March.”
Brown Bears 5, Rage 2
Kenai River 0 3 2 —5
Dawson Creek 0 2 0 —2
First period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 4 for 16:00, Dawson Creek 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 1. Dawson Creek, Fellnermayr pp (Zarazun, Matthews) 0:42. 2. Dawson Creek, Mueller (McMullen, Bailey) 1:20. 3. Kenai River, Lubanski (Nuth, Davidson) 3:19. 4. Kenai River, Stefan 4:42. 5. Kenai River, Murphy, pp (Thompson, Ramsey) 9:31. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00, Dawson Creek 4 for 8:00.
Third period — 6. Kenai River, Nuth (Stenehjem) 8:38. 7. Kenai River, Nuth (Lazarro, Frere) 17:20. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00, Dawson Creek 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 11-15-12—38; Dawson Creek 4-17-8—29.
Goalies — Kenai River, Severson (29 shots-27 saves); Dawson Creek, Bourbeau (38 shots-33 saves).
Power plays — Kenai 1 for 4, Dawson Creek 1 for 4.