The Kenai River Brown Bears pulled one point out of a two-game series with the Corpus Christi (Texas) IceRays on Friday and Saturday at the AmericanBank Center in Corpus Christi.
The Bears dropped a 7-3 decision Friday in front of 3,068, the lost 3-2 in overtime Saturday in front of 1,745.
“(Friday) night we had goaltending issues and effort issues,” Kenai River coach Oliver David said. “Effort in my book is king.
“We had a great meeting (Saturday) afternoon, we had a day that went well and I thought we put together a very good game.”
The Brown Bears are now 10-10-4, good for 24 points and third place in the North American Hockey League West Division. Fairbanks leads with 36 points, while Wenatchee (Wash.) has 31 and Fresno (Calif.) has 15.
Saturday, Perry D’Arrisso scored in the first period for a 1-0 lead, but the Bears fought back in the second.
Dylan Meier scored on an assist from Brian Berry and Albin Karlsson scored on assists from Vincent Stefan and Connor McGovern.
However, Corpus Christi’s Charles Baldwin scored on Sean Healy 21 seconds after Karlsson’s goal for a tie game.
“Our defenseman pinched and they walked around us just like they did all (Friday) night,” David said. “He came in point blank on Healy and scored. It was a mental error.”
After a scoreless third period, Rudy Sulmonte scored just 25 seconds into overtime to end the game.
David said Sulmonte threw the puck on the net from the corner and it somehow bounced in. He said he won’t be sure what happened until he looks at the video.
“It was a real tough pill to swallow, I mean real tough,” David said. “I feel a little sad for the guys in the locker room.
“They battled and did everything we asked them to.”
On Friday, Corpus Christi got on the board 5:37 into the game when Sulmonte scored, but new addition Berry had his first goal as a Brown Bears player to even the score just 23 seconds later. Matthew Meier, a new affiliate player and the brother of Dylan, and Carson Vance assisted.
But Corpus Christi would score the next three goals to take control of the game. Emil Romig and Charles Baldwin scored before the end of the first period, then, when Romig scored just 48 seconds into the second period, goalie Gustaf Johansson was taken out in favor of Healy. Johansson had 11 saves on 15 shots, while Healy had 18 saves on 21 shots.
Jake Bushey, on assists from Alec Butcher and Alex Jackstadt, scored on the power play for a 4-2 game, but again the IceRays answered with three straight goals. They came from AJ Jarosz, Sulmonte and Brandon Berkley.
Ryan Walker, on an assist from Lucas Kohls, finished the scoring for Kenai River.
The Brown Bears host Fairbanks at the Soldotna Sports Center on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
David said the team must do two things before that series.
First, the Bears must figure out why they are allowing so many goals. The Bears allowed 24 goals on the recently completed six-game road trip.
“It’s not just goaltending, it’s all of us,” David said.
David also said the team must get scoring from lines other than the Jackstadt-Butcher-Karlsson trio.
IceRays 7, Brown Bears 3
Kenai River 1 1 1 —3
Corpus Christi 3 3 1 —7
First period — 1. Corpus Christi, Sulmonte (Williams, Romig), 5:37; 2. Kenai River, Berry (Meier, Vance), 6:00; 3. Corpus Christi, Romig (D’Arrisso, Roisum), 7:54; 4. Corpus Christi, Baldwin (Heuser), 11:47. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 9:00; Corpus Christi 4 for 11:00,
Second period — 5. Corpus Christi, Romig (Sulmonte), sh, 0:48; 6. Kenai River, Bushey (Jackstadt, Butcher), pp, 5:25; 7. Corpus Christi, Jarosz (Baldwin), 13:04; 8. Corpus Christi, Sulmonte (un.), 18:22. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 5:00; Corpus Christi 3 for 9:00.
Third period — 9. Corpus Christi, Berkley (Baldwin), 6:50; 10. Kenai River, Walker (Kohls), 16:52. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Corpus Christi 3 for 6:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 12-11-12—35; Corpus Christi 14-10-12—36.
Goalies — Kenai River, Johansson (15 shots, 11 saves), Healy (21 shots, 18 saves); Corpus Christi, Stewart (35 shots, 32 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 6; Corpus Christi 0 for 2.
IceRays 3, Brown Bears 2, OT
Kenai River 0 2 0 0 —2
Corpus Christi 1 1 0 1 —3
First period — 1. Corpus Christi, D’Arrisso (Romig, Sulmonte), 4:22. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Corpus Christi 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 2. Kenai River, Meier (Berry), 6:00; 3. Kenai River, Karlsson (Stefan, McGovern), 16:14; 4. Corpus Christi, Baldwin (Economos, Jarosz), 16:35. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Corpus Christi 2 for 4:00.
Third period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Corpus Christi 2 for 4:00.
Overtime — 5. Corpus Christi, Sulmonte (Romig), 0:25. Penalties — none.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-15-11-0—34; Corpus Christi 17-11-10-2—40.
Goalies — Kenai River, Healy (40 shots, 37 saves); Corpus Christi, Myers (34 shots, 32 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 4; Corpus Christi 1 for 3.