The Kenai River Brown Bears completed a season-opening road trip by losing in a shootout Friday and winning in a shootout Saturday against the Janesville (Wis.) Jets.
The score on Friday was 3-2, while the score Saturday was 4-3.
The Brown Bears finish the road trip with a 3-2-3 record and are currently tied for third in the North American Hockey League West Division with the Fresno (Calif.) Monsters with nine points.
The Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild are in first with a perfect 16 points, while the Fairbanks Ice Dogs are in second with 12 points.
Brown Bears coach Oliver David said it was his goal to get eight points on the road trip, so his young team has bettered expectations.
“It’s been an excellent road trip,” David said.
Friday, Janesville had to go all the way to the sixth shooter in the shootout to topple the Bears.
The first five shooters saw just one goal apiece for each side — with Eric Shand scoring for Kenai River and Austin Vieth scoring for Janesville.
In sudden death, Kenai Central product Zack Zulkanycz missed his chance, while Matt Salituro scored on Gustaf Johansson to win the game.
Bryan Kronberger scored the lone goal of the first period to give the Jets the lead.
The Brown Bears, who outshot Janesville 30-16, came back with a pair of goals in the second period. Lucas Kohls and Jacob Davidson got the tallies.
Conor Lemirande scored 5:05 into the third period to set up overtime and the shootout.
“We were extremely sharp,” David said. “We controlled lots of the game. For minutes at a time, we had possession of the puck.
“To be honest, it was very gratifying for me to watch.”
David said the third-period goal for the Jets came on the Jets’ first shot of the period, and came off a fluky bounce.
Johansson had 14 saves for the Bears, while Brock Kautz had 28 saves for the Jets.
Saturday, Vieth opened the scoring for the Jets, but Matt Seidel and Jake Bushey scored before the end of the first period for a 2-1 lead.
Davidson increased the lead to 3-1 just 6:20 into the second period, but Jason Ford and Jordan Himley had goals before the end of the second to set up a scoreless third.
Kohls, Seidel and Shand all scored in the shootout, while the Jets missed their first three tries, as the Bears quickly wrapped up the victory.
Johansson had 25 saves, while Austin Priebe had 31 saves.
Next up for the Bears is their home-opening series. The Fresno (Calif.) Monsters will play Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. On Oct. 7, the squads play at 5 p.m.
“It’s exciting, we’ve got a lot of talent,” David said. “Fans should be prepared for a high level of play, but as usual we’ll be arguably facing the strongest division in the league.”
Jets 3, Brown Bears 2, SO
Kenai River 0 2 0 0 0 —2
Janesville 1 0 1 0 1 —3
First period — 1. Janesville, Kronberger (Ford, Salituro), 1:01. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 2. Kenai River, Kohls (Stefan), 8:38; 3. Kenai River, Davidson (Seidel, Kohls), pp, 13:20. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 9:00; Janesville 4 for 11:00.
Third period — 4. Janesville, Lemirande (un.), 5:05. Penalties — Janesville 2 for 4:00.
Overtime — none. Penalties — none.
Shootout — Kenai River 1 (Walker NG, Warner NG, Lazzaro NG, Shand G, Goldberg NG, Zulkanycz NG); Janesville 2 (Ford NG, Vieth G, Lemirande NG, Carlson NG, Diamantoni NG, Salituro G).
Shots on goal — Kenai River 9-10-9-2—30; Janesville 5-5-4-2—16.
Goalies — Kenai River, Johansson (16 shots, 14 saves); Janesville, Kautz (30 shots, 28 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 5; Janesville 0 for 3.
Brown Bears 4, Jets 3, SO
Kenai River 2 1 0 0 1 —4
Janesville 1 2 0 0 0 —3
First period — 1. Janesville, Vieth (Salituro), 3:52; 2. Kenai River, Seidel (Jackstadt, Shand), 10:50; 3. Kenai River, Bushey (Seidel), pp, 16:50. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Janesville 4 for 8:00.
Second period — 4. Kenai River, Davidson (Seidel, Bushey), pp, 6:20; 5. Janesville, Ford (Kronberger, Gotelaere), 10:37; 6. Janesville, Himley (Sullivan, Burton), 11:16. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Janesville 3 for 6:00.
Third period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Janesville 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 13-7-13-1—34; Janesville 8-12-6-2—28.
Goalies — Kenai River, Johansson (28 shots, 25 saves); Janesville, Priebe (34 shots, 31 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 2 for 6; Janesville 0 for 3.