Bears notch New Year's Eve win in North Dakota

The Kenai River Brown Bears scored three times on the power play to notch a 3-2 victory over the Minot (N.D.) Minotauros on Tuesday.


The Bears trailed 2-1 entering the final period, but outshot Minot 13-4 in the final 20 minutes to dampen the New Year's Eve celebration in North Dakota.

"Our power play was good tonight," Bears head coach Geoff Beauparlant said. "We were able to move the puck, get traffic in front of the net and bury some pucks.

"We found our legs in the third period and that gave us the push we needed to win."

The power play played a big role in the game, with Kenai River going 3 for 8 and Minot 1 for 7 on the man advantage.

Kenai River moves to 16-14-3 and into sole possession of fourth place in the North American Hockey League Midwest Division. Minot falls to 14-17-3.

The Bears won two straight games for the first time since Oct. 26 and 27 in Wenatchee, Wash.

"It's always good to win on the road no matter what team we are playing against," Beauparlant said. "We just want to make sure we build off each game, whether it is a win or a loss."

Beauparlant said his squad came out a little sluggish, and Tim Donohue scored a power-play goal with 9:37 left in the first period for a 1-0 Minot lead.

"Zach Quinn held us in with big saves early," Beauparlant said of his goalie, who saved 30 shots.

Just 16 seconds into the second period, Alec Butcher tied the game, working a two-on-one with Jack Gessert.

Butcher also had an assist on the night and still leads the league with 38 points.

With 16:07 left in the second, Minot retook the lead on a goal by Jake McCann.

Beauparlant said both goals came on miscommunciations off of faceoffs.

With 16:20 left in the game, Butcher fed Gessert in front of the net for the power-play equalizer.

With 4:42 left in the game, Frankie Spellman notched the game-winner, tipping a Jake Davidson shot, then slamming home the rebound.

Beauparlant said the defense continues to be solid.

"We were moving the puck cleanly and blocking shots when we needed to," the coach said. "Our D corps, as well as Quinn, shut the door."

Two new Brown Bears played a role in the win. Affiliate player Marc Johnstone and new acquisition Jacob Wolter teamed on a line with Spellman to provide some energy late in the second period.

Wolter was acquired in a trade for Sam Bratten with the Helena (Mont.) Bighorns of the Tier III American West Hockey League.

Jacob is from Fairbanks and is the twin brother of Ice Dogs forward Colton.

"We wish Sam well," Beauparlant said. "We know he will be part of a team with a chance at a national championship."

The Bears and Minotauros face off at 4:05 p.m. AST Wednesday.



Kenai River012—3


First period — 1. Minot, Donohue (Lizotte, Dornbrock), pp, 10:23. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Minot 2 for 4:00.

Second period — 2. Kenai River, Butcher (Gessert, Fuchs), pp, 0:16; 3. Minot, McCann (Dornbrock, Lizotte), 3:53. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Minot 4 for 16:00.

Third period — 4. Kenai River, Gessert (Butcher, Andrews), pp, 3:40; 5. Kenai River, Spellman (Davidson, Stefan), pp, 15:18. Penalties — Minot 4 for 8:00.

Shots on goal — Kenai River 9-10-13—32; Minot 14-14-4—32.

Goalies — Kenai River, Quinn (32 shots, 30 saves); Minot, Wildung (32 shots, 29 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 3 for 8; Minot 1 for 7.


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