The Kenai River Brown Bears snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Fresno (Calif.) Monsters 5-1 on Thursday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The same two teams drop the puck tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the sports center.
The Bears improved to 22-23-6 with the win, while Fresno is at 15-30-6.
Also in the North American Hockey League West Division on Thursday, Fairbanks defeated Wenatchee (Wash.) 3-1.
In the West Division, Wenatchee now leads with 78 points, while Fairbanks has 71, Kenai River has 50 and Fresno has 36.
The Bears jumped to a 3-0 lead in crusing past the Monsters. Kenai River had 44 shots to Fresno’s 30.
Evan McCarthy continued with strong showings in the net for the Bears, making 29 saves. Macauley Haight had 39 for Fresno.
Jake Bushey started the scoring just 1 minute, 24 seconds, into the game. Alex Jackstadt and Alec Butcher assisted. Then, with 9:01 left in the first, Brad LeLievre scored on assists from Conor Deal and Vincent Stefan.
At 4:06 into the second, Soldotna High School product Brad Duwe scored on an assist by Stefan.
After Trevor Husch cut the lead to 3-1, Chris Nuth made it 4-1 on assists from Jacob Davidson and LeLievre.
In the third period, Butcher scored on assists from Bushey and Jackstadt.
Kenai River continued to excel on the penalty kill, not allowing a goal in five power plays. The Bears also did not score on six power plays.
Brown Bears 5, Monsters 1
Fresno 0 1 0 —1
Kenai River 2 2 1 —5
First period — 1. Kenai River, Bushey (Jackstadt, Butcher), 1:24; 2. Kenai River, LeLievre (Deal, Stefan), 10:59. Penalties — Fresno 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 3. Kenai River, Duwe (Stefan), 4:06; 4. Fresno, Husch (Plate, Janco), 4:55; 5. Kenai River, Nuth (Davidson, LeLievre), 18:17. Penalties — Fresno 3 for 6:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.
Third period — 6. Kenai River, Butcher (Bushey, Jackstadt), 6:13. Penalties — Fresno 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 2 for 14:00.
Shots on goal — Fresno 10-8-12—30; Kenai River 10-18-16—44.
Goalies — Fresno, Haight (44 shots, 39 saves); Kenai River, McCarthy (30 shots, 29 saves).
Power plays — Fresno 0 for 5; Kenai River 0 for 6.