In the midst of a playoff chase, the Kenai River Brown Bears lost their third straight game, falling 6-1 to the host Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild on Saturday in front of 3,244.
The Bears fall to 24-21-6 and remain in fifth place and out of the playoffs in the North American Hockey League Midwest Division.
Kenai River has 54 points, while the Coulee Region (Wis.) Chill are in fourth place with 58 points.
Wenatchee (27-20-6) moves up to third place. The Bears complete a three-game series with the Wild at 2:05 p.m. today.
“That’s the best thing,” Kenai River head coach Geoff Beauparlant said. “As frustrating as it has been over the last three games, we’re still in the playoff race. All hope hasn’t been lost.
“We’ve got to regroup if we’re going to catch Wenatchee or Coulee Region. We have to come with desperation we have not shown in the last three.”
Beauparlant said his squad came out executing the game plan, but a turnover led to a Joseph Kaszupski goal 10 minutes, 29 seconds, in.
Mitch Demario scored a power-play goal just 45 seconds later.
Beauparlant said a bad penalty led to the power play, and he said the shot is one goalie Zach Quinn must save. He then pulled Quinn for Kris Oldham.
“I felt it was the right time to make the move to Kris,” Beauparlant said.
In the second period, Beauparlant again said his team wasn’t playing that bad, but turnover led to a Brendan Harris goal and 3-0 lead with 14:50 left in the second.
“Once we go down two or three, there is a tendency to go individual and try and beat guys one on one,” Beauparlant said. “When that happens you end up running around and any team, not just Wenatchee, moves the puck around and makes you look silly.”
Wenatchee completed its scoring with two power-play goals by David Powlowski and one from Mitch Demario.
The Wild were 4 for 8 with the extra man.
“You can’t allow four power-play goals and expect to win a hockey game,” Beauparlant said.
Jack Gessert, on assists from Matt Rudin and Jacob Davidson, had the lone goal for the Bears, with 18:24 left in the third period.
Beauparlant said Rudin and Gessert played well, as well as Austin Chavez, Gustav Berglund, Alec Butcher, Tommy Dierl and Sebastian Fuchs.
Albin Karlsson was given misconducts for abuse of officials and throwing the stick. Beauparlant said Karlsson will not play today due to a coach’s decision.
Wild 6, Brown Bears 1
Kenai River 0 0 1 —1
Wenatchee 2 2 2 —6
First period — 1. Wenatchee, Kaszupski (un.), 10:29; 2. Wenatchee, Demario (Nuttle), pp, 11:14. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Wenatchee 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 3. Wenatchee, Harris (Kaszupski), 5:10; 4. Wenatchee, Demario (Kaszupski), pp, 17:31. Penalties — Kenai River 6 for 28:00; Wenatchee 4 for 8:00.
Third period — 5. Kenai River, Gessert (Rudin, Davidson), pp, 1:36; 6. Wenatchee, Powlowski (Salvato), pp, 3:45; 7. Wenatchee, Powlowski (Ahlgren), pp, 13:48. Penalties — Kenai River 6 for 12:00; Wenatchee 5 for 10:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 9-7-6—22; Wenatchee 15-11-13—39.
Goalies — Kenai River, Quinn (10 shots, 8 saves); Oldham (29 shots, 25 saves); Wenatchee, Perry (22 shots, 21 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 6; Wenatchee 4 for 8.