Goalith 2, the team of Oliver David 0.
The league-best Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild took a two-game lead over the league-worst Kenai River Brown Bears with a 5-2 win Saturday in Game 2 of a best-of-five series in the North American Hockey League playoffs. Host Wenatchee defeated Kenai River 5-2 in Game 1 on Friday night.
"The challenge has proven too great for us these last 24 hours," Brown Bears head coach Oliver David said on Saturday. "They're stronger, faster and more skilled and have more speed."
Five of the seven goals in Saturday's game came from special teams.
"Most of the offense came from special teams tonight, and not in our favor," David said.
Both Brown Bears goals came on the man advantage. The Wild netted one power-play goal and two short-handed tallies.
Wenatchee's Christian Hilbrich scored an unassisted shorty with 3:30 left in the opening period. Brad Duwe tied the game a minute and a half later with a power-play goal. Johan Skinnars and Braden Kinnebrew had the assists.
Former Brown Bear Dajon Mingo regained the lead for the Wild early in the second. Kenai River's Josh Royston tied the game at 2 with a power-play goal with under five minutes left in the period.
Jesse Ramsey then took a penalty with just over a minute left in the second. Wenatchee's Ryan Timar scored 23 seconds later.
Instead of going into the final period tied, Kenai River was down one.
"That changes the dynamic of how you approach the game and how you play the game," David said.
Michael Di Puma scored midway through the third to give the Wild a 4-2 lead. With just over two minutes left in regulation, Kenai River was on the man advantage. David pulled goaltender Dainis Vasiljevs to give his team a six-on-four power play. But the Wild's Shawn Pauly scored a short-handed, empty-net goal to seal the win.
"We were not habitually sound in very key situations," David said.
Despite the loss, David said his team played well.
"The scoreboard doesn't indicate how well we played. There were a lot of positives," he said.
Most noteworthy was Kenai River's defensive zone play.
"It is going a lot better than we ever played it," David said.
Game 3 of the series is today at 4:05 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time in Wenatchee.
"It comes down to execution still," David said. "This comes down to work ethic.
"When guys are backed in a corner, true colors come out," he said. "There's no big speech or no big motivational situation that I'm relying on. I'm relying on these guys to finish as best they can. I hope they can do that."
On Friday, the Brown Bears' top line of Skinnars, Duwe and Ramsey were held scoreless. Each posted a minus-2 rating.
The Wild held Kenai River to single digits in shots each period. Wenatchee threw twice as many pucks on net as the Brown Bears.
Timar, who had two goals, started the scoring off for Wenatchee seven minutes into the first period. Eric Johnson gave the Wild a two-goal cushion with a tally nearly 10 minutes later.
Nathan Sliwinski netted a power-play goal just 44 seconds into the second period. Kenai River's Doug Beck brought the score to 3-1 in favor of the Wild on a goal midway through the second. Derek Bayagich and Kegan Kiel had the assists.
Mingo scored 34 seconds into the third period. Timar added his second of the night two and a half minutes later to give Wenatchee a 5-1 lead.
Brown Bears goaltender Mike Martin, who made 26 saves on 31 shots, was pulled after Timar's second goal. Vasiljevs replaced Martin. He stopped all five shots he faced.
Wenatchee net minder Brandon Jaeger stopped 16 of 18 shots.
Matthew Cindaer scored at the 5:40 mark of the third to cut the deficit to three. Bayagich and Beck had the helpers.
Kenai River was held scoreless on its five power plays. Wenatchee was 1-for-5 on the man advantage.
In other West Division postseason action, Fairbanks defeated the Alaska Avalanche of Wasilla 2-1 in overtime on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in that series.
Wild 5, Brown Bears 2
Kenai River 0 1 1 -- 2
Wenatchee 2 1 2 -- 5
First period -- 1. Wenatchee, Timar (McLean, Pauly), 7:02; 2. Wenatchee, Johnson (Rumble, Jubinville), 16:49. Penalties -- 2 for 4:00; Wenatchee 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- 3. Wenatchee, Sliwinski (Jubinville, Mingo), pp, 0:44; 4. Kenai River, Beck (Bayagich, Kiel), 11:16. Penalties -- Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Wenatchee 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 5. Wenatchee, Mingo (Jubinville), 0:34; 6. Wenatchee, Timar (Pauly), 3:04; 7. Kenai River, Cinader (Bayagich, Beck), 5:40. Penalties -- Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Wenatchee 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal --Kenai River 9-4-5 -- 18; Wenatchee 13-15-8 -- 36.
Goalies -- Kenai River, Martin (31 shots, 26 saves), Vasiljevs (5 shots, 5 saves); Wenatchee, Jaeger (18 shots, 16 saves).
Power play --Kenai River 0 for 5; Wenatchee 1 for 5.
Wild 5, Brown Bears 2
Kenai River 1 1 0 -- 2
Wenatchee 1 2 2 -- 5
First period -- 1. Wenatchee, Hilbrich (un), sh, 16:34; 2. Kenai River, Duwe (Kinnebrew, Skinnars), pp, 18:04. Penalties -- Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Wenatchee 3 for 6:00.
Second period -- 3. Wenatchee, Mingo (Sliwinski, Jubinville), 3:39; 4. Kenai River, Royston (Skinnars, Kinnebrew), pp, 15:37; 5. Wenatchee, Timar (Young), pp, 19:18. Penalties -- Kenai River 4 for 16:00; Wenatchee 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 6. Wenatchee, Di Puma (Timar), 11:54; 7. Wenatchee, Pauly (McKellar), sh, en, 17:58. Penalties -- Wenatchee 2 for 4:00.
Shots on goal -- Kenai River 6-5-6 -- 17; Wenatchee 12-10-12 34.
Goalies --Kenai River, Vasiljevs (33 shots, 29 saves); Wenatchee, Jaeger (17 shots, 15 saves).
Power plays -- Kenai River 2 for 5; Wenatchee 1 for 4.
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