Avs sweep Brown Bears

Posted: Sunday, February 07, 2010

WASILLA -- For two periods Friday, Josh Benton was an absolute wall for the Kenai River Brown Bears.

The former South Anchorage High School standout, who was making his North American Hockey League debut in the Kenai River net, stopped all 39 shots he saw during the first 40 minutes.

But in the third, Alaska finally found a way to get past Benton. And once that happened, Alaska erupted for an avalanche of goals.

The Avs scored five times during a 10-minute span to set up a 6-5 shootout victory over the Brown Bears at the Curtis C. Menard II Memorial Ice Arena in Wasilla. On Saturday, Alaska completed the three-game sweep with a 6-1 win over the Bears.

Forward Matthew Friese scored a pair of goals to give Alaska the early 2-0 lead.

Former Brown Bear and Kenai Central standout Jed McGlasson scored his first goal in an Avalanche uniform in the third period.

Zack Smith, Blake Huppert and Trent Johnson also scored for the Avs.

"Josh Benton was unbelievable for two periods," Alaska head coach Dave Boitz said of his Friday performance.

Benton made 18 saves in the first period and 21 more in the second, and Kenai River built the 2-0 lead.

The Brown Bears scored twice more during the first six minutes of the third to grab the 4-0 advantage, and then the Avs were finally able to find the back of the net.

Smith scored seven minutes into the third to put Alaska on the scoreboard and four of his teammates followed with goals before the clock hit the 17-minute mark.

"Smith kind of broke the ice for us," Boitz said.

With the Avs trailing 4-1, forward Kyle Pichler and defenseman Logan Maly scored during a 60-second span to cut Kenai's lead to 4-3.

Midway through the third period, after Kenai was whistled for a pair of penalties, Alaska defenseman Jake Parenteau scored cashed in on a 5-on-3 advantage. Parenteau's power-play goal tied the game and less than two minutes later, Robb Haider scored to give Alaska its first lead of the contest.

Defenseman Braden Kinnebrew, who was traded by Alaska to Kenai early in the season, scored on the power play at the 17:49 mark to tie the game at 5-5 and force overtime.

After a scoreless overtime, Pichler and Huppert scored during the shootout to give the Avs the win. Brett Lubanski scored Kenai River's lone shootout goal.

Alaska outshot Kenai River 55-27 in the win.

"It's some of the best hockey we've played all year," Boitz said. "We put a lot of pucks on net."

Former Soldotna High School standout Brad Duwe scored a pair of goals to lead the Brown Bears.

Duwe scored on the power play late in the first to give the Bears the 1-0 lead, and Duwe scored again early in the third.

Johan Skinnars and Chris Rial also scored for the Bears.

Contact Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

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