Don’t let 15-29-6 fool you.
That’s the record of the Fresno (Calif.) Monsters coming into a 7:05 p.m. game today and 7:30 p.m. games Friday and Saturday against the Kenai River Brown Bears at the Soldotna Sports Center.
“They have a losing record as a team, but they’re not to be underestimated,” Kenai River coach Oliver David said. “It’s going to be a good battle.”
The Monsters are under .500 for the same reason the Bears (21-23-6) are under .500 — the only other two teams in the North American Hockey League West Division are heavyweights Fairbanks and Wenatchee (Wash.).
The Bears have followed up a nine-game point streak and six-game winning streak by losing four straight to the Ice Dogs.
The Monsters followed up a 10-game losing streak by winning three of their last four, including a 5-4 victory last time out at Wenatchee.
The Bears have won the last three against Fresno and are 6-3 against the Monsters this season, but Kenai River has scored just five goals in its last four games.
“I think we’ve actually played pretty well,” David said. “We just haven’t scored enough goals to win games. We have to do a better job at cracking some of the good goalies.”
Four of Kenai River’s last five games have come against Division I recruit Steve Perry of the Ice Dogs. Fresno has a Division I recruit in Tomas Sholl, and another solid goalie in Macauley Haight.
“We’re going to face two more good goalies this weekend,” David said.
The big question for Bears fans is when Marcus Zelzer will get back in net. Zelzer is 6-1-2 for the Bears since coming in a midseason trade.
David said he will continue to be a game-time decision.
“He’s recovering nicely and practiced today,” David said Wednesday. “He went through some drills and he’s coming along well.”
The coach is happy with the way Evan McCarthy has been progressing. In the last two games, McCarthy had save percentages over .900.
In other news, forward Dylan Meier has become the third player on this year’s team to commit to college. Meier committed to Augsburg College, a Division III school in Minneapolis.