The Kenai River Brown Bears ended a 3-game series with the Wenatchee Wild on Monday night with a 4-3 loss at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, Wash.
The weekend saw the Bears start with a 5-3 win on Friday but continue it with a 5-2 loss on Saturday, and the team now sports a 13-14-4 record in the North American Hockey League West division standings. The Bears are third in the division with 30 points, with the Wild holding the top spot with 48 points.
In Monday’s game, the majority of the scoring came early, as Kenai River’s Matthew Meier knocked the puck in just past the six-minute mark to make it 3-2. Brad Duwe also had scored earlier for Kenai River 2:55 into the game on a powerplay to tie it up at one apiece, and the Bears were on the charge from the get-go, outshooting the Wild 12-9 in the first period, but still trailed going into the second period.
After a scoreless second period, Max McHugh scored early in the third to give Wenatchee a two-goal lead, but soon after, Dylan Meier converted an assist from Matthew Meier into a goal, and with 12 minutes remaining, Kenai River needed just one more score to tie it up. But, the chance never materialized.
The physicality and aggressiveness that punctuated the end of Saturday’s game also seemed to be back on Monday, as there were 11 penalties for 45 minutes in the first period alone, including a game ejection for Kenai’s Zack Zulkanycz with 6:25 left in the period for an elbowing offense.
Both Dylan and Matthew Meier ended the game with a goal and an assist, leading the way for the Bears.
For the Wild, the win also marked Wenatchee coach Bliss Littler’s 600th win as a junior hockey coach.
Next up for Kenai River is another 3-game road series this weekend, this time with the Fresno (Calif.) Monsters. Friday’s matchup starts at 6:35 p.m. local time.
Wild 4, Brown Bears 3
Kenai River 2 0 1 —3
1st period — 1. Wenatchee, Barber (Davis), shorthanded, 1:35; 2. Kenai River, Duwe (Seidel), 2:55; 3. Wenatchee, Kuchera (Roubos, Jones), 3:45; 4. Wenatchee, Barber (Davis, Abood), 5:33; 5. Kenai River, M. Meier (D. Meier), 6:08. Penalties — Kenai River 6 for 29:00; Wenatchee 5 for 16:00.
2nd period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Wenatchee 2 for 4:00.
3rd period — 6. Wenatchee, McHugh (Kuchera, Nelson), 3:38; 7. Kenai River, D. Meier (M. Meier), 7:57. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 7:00; Wenatchee 0.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 12-7-5—24; Wenatchee 9-6-9—24.
Goalies — Kenai River, Johansson (24 shots, 20 saves); Wenatchee, Nichols (24 shots, 21 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 4; Wenatchee 0 for 5.