The Wenatchee (Wash.) Wild completed a sweep of the Kenai River Brown Bears in North American Hockey League action in Washington on Sunday.
The Wild topped the Brown Bears 3-1, getting a pair of second-period goals from Nolan Youngmun. Wenatchee also had won games on Friday and Saturday.
Kenai River was technically the home team on Sunday, although the Wild had reached an agreement to play all of their first-round playoff games in Wenatchee if they won the division.
After being outshot 36-18 in a 5-2 loss to the Wild on Friday and 34-17 in a 5-2 loss on Saturday, Wenatchee again dominated play on Sunday, outshooting Kenai River 40-20.
Kenai River net minder Josh Benton got the Brown Bears off to a good start, producing a scoreless first period even though his team was outshot 14-3.
"Benton played exceptional," Kenai River head coach Oliver David said. "The shot totals are always a little skewed. I think we counted eight shots for us instead of three."
Youngmun got the scoring started with 11:12 left in the second on an assist from Kyle Brodie.
After giving up two short-handed goals on Saturday, the Brown Bears gave up another short-handed goal on Sunday when Youngmun scored on an assist from Duncan McKellar with 4:29 left in the second.
"The short-handed goal today was one of the unfortunate bounces," David said. "We were clearing the zone and it hit the referee and bounced back in."
David said the Brown Bears were able to get the puck back after it hit the ref, but seconds later a weird bounce off the glass gave Wenatchee an opportunity at the goal.
In the third period, Eric Johnson put the Wild up 3-0 with 18:30 left in the game when he scored a power-play goal on an assist from Brodie.
David said he was proud of his team for not giving up at that point.
Former Kenai Central standout Brad Fusaro, in his last game as a member of the Brown Bears, finished the scoring with 3:43 left in the game on an assist from Ryan Townsend.
"It's very fitting that our captain and most consistent hard worker, our cornerstone who never gave up, had that last goal," David said.
Benton had 37 saves, while Brendan Jensen had 19 saves for Wenatchee.
Despite the sweep, David said this playoff series provides a base for building.
"All the guys who can elect to return had an experience in an environment that's hard to beat," David said. "Losing a playoff series 3-0, I don't think they'll forget that anytime soon."
The Wild go on to face the winner of the series between the Alaska Avalanche of Wasilla and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the West Division final. The Ice Dogs have a two-game lead in the best-of-five series after sweeping games on Alaska's home ice.
The next two games, if necessary, would be at Fairbanks on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A possible Game 5 would be Sunday in Wasilla at 7:30 p.m.
Wenatchee 0 2 1 --3
Kenai River 0 0 1 --1
First period -- none. Penalties -- Wenatchee 1 for 2:00, Kenai River 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 1. Wenatchee, Youngmun (Brodie), 8:48; 2. Wenatchee, Youngmun (McKellar), sh, 15:31. Penalties -- Wenatchee 1 for 2:00.
Third period -- 3. Wenatchee, Johnson (Brodie), pp, 1:30; 4. Kenai River, Fusaro (Townsend), 16:17. Penalties -- Wenatchee 5 for 21:00; Kenai River 5 for 10:00.
Shots on goal -- Wenatchee 14-16-10--40; Kenai River 3-8-9--20.
Goalies -- Wenatchee, Jensen (20 shots, 19 saves); Kenai River, Benton (40 shots, 37 saves).
Power plays -- Wenatchee 1 for 4, Kenai River 0 for 4.
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