The Kenai River Brown Bears picked up their second straight victory at the North American Hockey League Showcase, topping the Janesville (Wis.) Jets 4-3 in a shootout Thursday at the Schwans Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.
The Bears are now 2-2 and tied for second with three teams in what is beginning to look like a tough Midwest Division.
Fairbanks is 4-0 and leads the division. Beauparlant said he has been told by a couple of scouts the Ice Dogs are probably the best team at the showcase.
But all six Midwest Division teams have picked up at least a point in each game in the opening two days of the showcase.
The Bears needed a big comeback to keep that trend alive. Kenai River went down 2-0 in the first period on goals from Adam Winborg and Jordan Himley. After Matt Rudin scored on assists from Jack Gessert and Tommy Dierl, Michael Louria made it 3-1 Jets.
“I thought we came out with some energy and controlled the play, but we didn’t bear down on chances,” Bears coach Geoff Beauparlant said. “We got behind the 8-ball when we gave up a couple power-play goals.”
Beauparlant removed goalie Kris Oldham after the first period. Oldham had allowed three goals on eight shots.
“Our guys were wavering a bit as far as confidence in Kris,” Beauparlant said. “Give him credit. He tried to hang in there. He made a good save prior to giving up that third one.
“It was more to settle the team down.”
The Bears tied the game up in the second when Alec Butcher scored on the power play on assists from Sebastian Fuchs and Jake Bushey, and Gessert scored on assists from Rudin and Dierl.
“Rudin and Gessert had their first goals as Bears,” Beauparlant said. “On both goals, they got pucks to the net and used their size as an advantage.”
Goalie Zach Quinn shut the Jets down over the final two periods. Beauparlant said the defensemen did a great job.
Then in the shootout, Quinn gave up one goal while Fuchs and Karlsson scored to give the Bears the win.
Kenai River faces defending Robertson Cup champ Amarillo (Texas) today at 10:30 p.m. ADT.
In other Bears news, it has been announced that Alex Jackstadt, who is from Anchorage and played for Kenai River last season, made the roster of the Fargo (N.D.) Force in the Tier I United States Hockey League. The NAHL is Tier II.
“We wish him nothing but success,” Beauparlant said. “We couldn’t be more proud.”
The Bears have cut defenseman Chancie Hanson of Wasilla and forward Howard Yawit of Anchorage. Also, Brody Decker will be out for a while after taking a stick to the face in Wednesday’s game.
Brown Bears 4, Jets 3, SO
Janesville 3 0 0 0 0 —3
Kenai River 1 2 0 0 1 —2
First period — 1. Janesville, Winborg (Hoglund, Louria), 8:12; 2. Janesville, Himley (Feno, n/a), 15:24; 3. Kenai River, Rudin (Gessert, Dierl), 18:11; 4. Janesville, Louria (Hoglund, Pierce), 18:42. Penalties — Janesville 4 for 8:00; Kenai River 2 for 4:00.
Second period — 5. Kenai River, Butcher (Fuchs, Bushey), pp, 3:38; 6. Kenai River, Gessert (Rudin, Dierl), 10:00. Penalties — n/a.
Third period — none.