The Kenai River Brown Bears were edged out in a shootout at the Soldotna Sports Center on Friday night as they lost 4-3 to the Dawson Creek (British Columbia) Rage.
Tied at 3 at the end of regulation, the overtime period went scoreless, which led to the shootout.
“It was an energy issue, and it is what it is,” head coach Oliver David said. “We didn’t come out with the same kind of speed and energy we had last night, and turnovers hurt us.”
Austin Adduono from the Rage began the shootout with a score on Kenai goalie Austin Severson, but teammate Chris Blessing nullified that with a score of his own on Dawson Creek goalie Paul Bourbeau, who used to play for the Bears.
Severson blocked a shot from the Rage’s Ryan Matthews, but Bourbeau answered back with a blocked shot from Zac Lazzaro.
Carter Page slipped the third shot attempt past Severson, and Sean Muller scored for Kenai to keep pace.
However, in the fourth round of shot attempts, Shawn Mueller scored on Severson, while Brett Lubanski had his shot blocked by Bourbeau. Scott Fellnermayr then scored on Kenai to win the game.
The Bears fell to 7-2 in shootouts this season, losing a point to the Fresno (Calif.) Monsters in the North American Hockey League West Division standings in the process. Fresno topped the Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild 3-0 on Friday.
Kenai River is now 28-25-4, good for 60 points, while Fresno is at 26-21-10, good for 62 points. Both teams have three games remaining in the battle for the West's final playoff spot.
“We did win puck races, and outshoot them, I’m guessing, but Bourbeau played really well, and we didn’t score the one more goal that they did,” David said. “In the shootout, we gave up four of five shots, and that’s not going to cut it.”
Anthony Stempin, Ryan Walker and Marek Hemsky each had a goal for Kenai in regulation time, while Mueller had two of Dawson Creek’s goals and Troy Petrick had the other.
Kenai did have more shots on goal, tallying 43 to Dawson Creek’s 17, and Severson saved 14 of those attempts.
“Tomorrow is a new day, and we’re going to try again,” David said. “That’s just the reality of our situation, and at least we got a point.”
The Bears will play the Rage once more on Saturday, their third game in three days. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. at the sports center.
David says the team’s energy level is crucial to helping it win games, which ultimately leads to a playoff spot in the West Division.
“Any team in the playoffs has a chance, but that’s a long ways away, eight or nine days from now, so we have some time to figure it out," he said.
Rage 4, Brown Bears 3, SO
Dawson Creek 2 0 1 0 1 — 4
Kenai River 2 0 1 0 0 — 3
First period — 1. Dawson Creek, Mueller (Fellnermayr, Page), :07; 2. Dawson Creek, Mueller (Fellnermayr, Page), 9:58; 3. Kenai River, Stempin (Arkimo, Wasell), 12:05; 4. Kenai River, Walker (Lubanski, Ramsey), pp, 16:07. Penalties — Dawson Creek 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Second period — none. Penalties — Dawson Creek 4 for 8:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00.
Third period — 1. Dawson Creek, Petrick (Zarazun, Bailey), 4:00; 2. Kenai River, Hemsky (Lubanski), 7:27. Penalties — Dawson Creek 3 for 6:00.
Overtime — none. Penalties — none.
Shootout — Dawson Creek 4 (Adduono G, Matthews NG, Page G, Mueller G, Fellnermayr G); Kenai River 2 (Blessing G, Lazzaro NG, Muller G, Lubanski NG).
Shots on goal — Dawson Creek 6-7-4-0 —17; Kenai River 13-8-21-1 —43.
Goalies — Dawson Creek, Bourbeau (43 shots, 40 saves); Kenai River, Severson (17 shots, 14 saves).
Power plays —Dawson Creek 0 for 3; Kenai River 1 for 7.