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Friday: Bruins shut out Bears

Posted: February 8, 2014 - 1:48am  |  Updated: February 8, 2014 - 5:47pm

Friday night’s game between the Kenai River Brown Bears and Austin (Minn.) Bruins featured the Bears’ Alec Butcher, the leading scorer in the league, and the Bruins’ Jay Dickman, the third-leading scorer in the league.

It was the type of hockey game where both ended the contest with nasty wounds on their faces.

But Dickman ended up with the victory, scoring a power-play goal and setting up a short-handed goal in a 2-0 victory at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in front of 629.

That snapped a string of six straight games with at least a point for the Bears. Kenai River is 22-18-6 and one point ahead of the Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild for the final playoff spot from the North American Hockey League Midwest Division. Austin is 29-14-1 and in first place in the Central Division.

“That’s why they’re as good as they are,” Kenai River coach Geoff Beauparlant said of the two top scorers. “They compete every night and have a never-say-die attitude.

“Last night, Alec helped us get the win and tonight Jay made the plays he had to for them. It’s a great rivalry.”

Butcher developed a lump under his eye after taking a shot to the face with 8 minutes, 51 seconds, left in the third period, while Dickman was bloodied in a fracas with 24 seconds left in the game.

The contretemps at the 24-second mark marked the point where the officiating crew officially lost control of the taut, physical affair. A long delay ensued after the skirmish while the crew tried to decide exactly what penalties should be assessed.

Austin ended the period with 11 penalties for 53:00, while Kenai River had five for 23:00.

Austin’s No. 2, listed as S Schuldt on the roster, piled up the most penalty minutes in just his second game with the Bruins.

He was assessed five penalties for 37 minutes after he kept pounding away at Frankie Spellman after two officials separated the players and Spellman had turned his back.

If Austin’s Facebook page can be believed, No. 2 is indeed Joe Schuldt, who in a post Wednesday said he would like to “wrestle a polar bear” on the trip to Alaska.

Special teams were the difference in the penalty-filled contest.

The Bears were 0 for 9 on the man advantage, including three five-on-three chances. The Bruins were 1 for 3 on the power play with the short-handed goal.

“We’ve got to find a way to score with all of those chances,” Beauparlant said. “We didn’t do a good job supporting the puck on the power play.”

The Bruins came into the game with the second-best penalty kill in the league. That power play is backstopped by Nick Lehr, who entered with a .932 save percentage and earned his fifth shutout of the season.

Lehr rebounded from a 4-3 loss Thursday.

“Tonight, he was on his game and controlled his rebounds and stood up when he had to,” Austin coach Chris Tok said. “He came back from last night the way a goalie like him is supposed to.”

In the first period, the Bears had two minutes of five-on-three and could not solve Lehr.

In the second period, it was Kenai River goalie Zach Quinn’s turn to be the most important penalty killer. After Austin Chavez was given a five-minute major for boarding with 4:22 left in the period, Quinn made 11 saves before the end  of the period to keep the game scoreless.

He also stopped a penalty shot by Dickman with 13 seconds left.

“There was a lot of special teams tonight,” Tok said. “Both goalies played well. Obviously, it was tough to score, because it was 2-0, and a scoreless game going into the third period.”

The Bears had 38 seconds of the power play to kill heading into the third, but some slick passing from Lucas Kohls to Casey Jerry found Dickman with a crack of space in front of the net. He touched the puck over Quinn 36 seconds into the period.

Tok said the Bruins had a set play coming out of the period, but that play had broken down.

“Sometimes hockey players have to make great hockey plays,” he said.

Beauparlant said the Bears may have taken a deep breath five seconds too soon.

“We got caught running round against a skilled, veteran, experienced hockey club and that’s what is going to happen,” he said.

The rest of the game was a series of close calls and frustration for the Bears.

With 11:22 left, Bears defenseman Ben Campbell beat an Austin player at the blue line and whistled a wrist shot off the pipe.

With 9:48 left, the Bears were on the power play in the Austin zone when Dickman dove and was able to chip the puck to Kohls for a breakaway goal.

Fans clamored for a trip because the Bears’ last man back — defenseman Tyler Andrews — was submarined on the play, but the pleas of the crowd went unanswered.

With 8:51 left, Beauparlant said a goal was originally signaled on the play in which Butcher was hit in the face. But the officials got together and ruled that had been a mistake and there was no goal.

The same two teams drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the sports complex.

 

Friday

Bruins 2, Brown Bears 0

Austin002—2

Kenai River000—0

First period — none. Penalties — Austin 4 for 11:00; Kenai River 1 for 5:00.

Second period — none. Penalties — Austin 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 3 for 9:00.

Third period — 1. Austin, Dickman (Jerry, Kohls), pp, 0:36; 2. Austin, Kohls (Dickman), sh, 10:12. Penalties — Austin for 11 for 53:00; 5 for 23:00.

Shots on goal — Austin 5-18-10—33; Kenai River 18-7-10—35.

Goalies — Austin, Lehr (35 shots, 35 saves); Kenai River, Quinn (33 shots, 31 saves).

Power plays — Austin 1 for 3; Kenai River 0 for 9.Friday night’s game between the Kenai River Brown Bears and Austin (Minn.) Bruins featured the Bears’ Alec Butcher, the leading scorer in the league, and the Bruins’ Jay Dickman, the third-leading scorer in the league.

It was the type of hockey game where both ended the contest with nasty wounds on their faces.

But Dickman ended up with the victory, scoring a power-play goal and setting up a short-handed goal in a 2-0 victory at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in front of 629.

That snapped a string of six straight games with at least a point for the Bears. Kenai River is 22-18-6 and one point ahead of the Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild for the final playoff spot from the North American Hockey League Midwest Division. Austin is 29-14-1 and in first place in the Central Division.

“That’s why they’re as good as they are,” Kenai River coach Geoff Beauparlant said of the two top scorers. “They compete every night and have a never-say-die attitude.

“Last night, Alec helped us get the win and tonight Jay made the plays he had to for them. It’s a great rivalry.”

Butcher developed a lump under his eye after taking a shot to the face with 8 minutes, 51 seconds, left in the third period, while Dickman was bloodied in a fracas with 24 seconds left in the game.

The contretemps at the 24-second mark marked the point where the officiating crew officially lost control of the taut, physical affair. A long delay ensued after the skirmish while the crew tried to decide exactly what penalties should be assessed.

Austin ended the period with 11 penalties for 53:00, while Kenai River had five for 23:00.

Austin’s No. 2, listed as S Schuldt on the roster, piled up the most penalty minutes in just his second game with the Bruins.

He was assessed five penalties for 37 minutes after he kept pounding away at Frankie Spellman after two officials separated the players and Spellman had turned his back.

If Austin’s Facebook page can be believed, No. 2 is indeed Joe Schuldt, who in a post Wednesday said he would like to “wrestle a polar bear” on the trip to Alaska.

Special teams were the difference in the penalty-filled contest.

The Bears were 0 for 9 on the man advantage, including three five-on-three chances. The Bruins were 1 for 3 on the power play with the short-handed goal.

“We’ve got to find a way to score with all of those chances,” Beauparlant said. “We didn’t do a good job supporting the puck on the power play.”

The Bruins came into the game with the second-best penalty kill in the league. That power play is backstopped by Nick Lehr, who entered with a .932 save percentage and earned his fifth shutout of the season.

Lehr rebounded from a 4-3 loss Thursday.

“Tonight, he was on his game and controlled his rebounds and stood up when he had to,” Austin coach Chris Tok said. “He came back from last night the way a goalie like him is supposed to.”

In the first period, the Bears had two minutes of five-on-three and could not solve Lehr.

In the second period, it was Kenai River goalie Zach Quinn’s turn to be the most important penalty killer. After Austin Chavez was given a five-minute major for boarding with 4:22 left in the period, Quinn made 11 saves before the end  of the period to keep the game scoreless.

He also stopped a penalty shot by Dickman with 13 seconds left.

“There was a lot of special teams tonight,” Tok said. “Both goalies played well. Obviously, it was tough to score, because it was 2-0, and a scoreless game going into the third period.”

The Bears had 38 seconds of the power play to kill heading into the third, but some slick passing from Lucas Kohls to Casey Jerry found Dickman with a crack of space in front of the net. He touched the puck over Quinn 36 seconds into the period.

Tok said the Bruins had a set play coming out of the period, but that play had broken down.

“Sometimes hockey players have to make great hockey plays,” he said.

Beauparlant said the Bears may have taken a deep breath five seconds too soon.

“We got caught running round against a skilled, veteran, experienced hockey club and that’s what is going to happen,” he said.

The rest of the game was a series of close calls and frustration for the Bears.

With 11:22 left, Bears defenseman Ben Campbell beat an Austin player at the blue line and whistled a wrist shot off the pipe.

With 9:48 left, the Bears were on the power play in the Austin zone when Dickman dove and was able to chip the puck to Kohls for a breakaway goal.

Fans clamored for a trip because the Bears’ last man back — defenseman Tyler Andrews — was submarined on the play, but the pleas of the crowd went unanswered.

With 8:51 left, Beauparlant said a goal was originally signaled on the play in which Butcher was hit in the face. But the officials got together and ruled that had been a mistake and there was no goal.

The same two teams drop the puck at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the sports complex.

 

Friday

Bruins 2, Brown Bears 0

Austin002—2

Kenai River000—0

First period — none. Penalties — Austin 4 for 11:00; Kenai River 1 for 5:00.

Second period — none. Penalties — Austin 2 for 4:00; Kenai River 3 for 9:00.

Third period — 1. Austin, Dickman (Jerry, Kohls), pp, 0:36; 2. Austin, Kohls (Dickman), sh, 10:12. Penalties — Austin for 11 for 53:00; 5 for 23:00.

Shots on goal — Austin 5-18-10—33; Kenai River 18-7-10—35.

Goalies — Austin, Lehr (35 shots, 35 saves); Kenai River, Quinn (33 shots, 31 saves).

Power plays — Austin 1 for 3; Kenai River 0 for 9.

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