The Kenai River Brown Bears improved to 2-0 on the season with a 4-3 overtime victory over the two-time defending league champion St. Louis Bandits on Thursday at the North American Hockey League Showcase Tournament in Blaine, Minn.
Just 50 seconds into the extra session, Brown Bears captain Nick Simson lit the lamp on an assist from Nick Gawron.
The goal continued a quick start for Simson. He now has two goals and two assists for the season.
The Brown Bears also are off to a great start under new coach Brent Agrusa. Last year at the showcase, they were outscored a total of 26-9 in their four games -- including a 7-3 loss to St. Louis. The Brown Bears went on to finish with the league's worst record.
Special teams and goalkeeping played a large role in dropping St. Louis to 0-1-1.
Kenai River goalie Jimmy Hamby made 41 saves on 44 shots, while St. Louis goalie Erick Cinotti stopped just 18 pucks in 22 attempts.
Hamby's finest hour came in the third period, when the Brown Bears tallied eight penalty minutes and the Bandits stayed out of the sin bin altogether. That allowed St. Louis to outshoot the Brown Bears 18-3 in the period, which started with both teams tied at 2.
Kenai River took the lead 3:19 into the final period when Chris Annunziato scored a shorthanded goal unassisted.
Spending the period on the power play finally paid off for the Bandits with 6:30 left in the third period. Kris Reinthaler scored on assists from Kyle Quick and Chad Hudson.
The Bandits ended the game 1 for 11 on the power play, while the Brown Bears were 1 of 6.
St. Louis started the scoring in the game with 8:19 to play in the first period when Nate Allen lit the lamp. The Brown Bears answered with 5:34 left in the first when Ryan Lemke scored on assists from Simson and Jake Musselman.
Kenai River took the lead just 2:10 into the second period when Simson assisted on a power-play goal by Ryan Goodmanson, but St. Louis answered on a goal by Nate Allen.
The Brown Bears continue play at the showcase today with a 10 a.m. Alaska time game against Alpena. The Bears wrap up play at the event on Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. game against Springfield.
Brown Bears 4, Bandits 3
Kenai River 1 1 1 1 --4
St. Louis 1 1 1 0 --3
First period -- 1. St. Louis, Allen (Sheehan), 11:41. 2. Kenai River, Lemke (Simson, Musselman), 14:26. Penalties -- Kenai River 2 for 4:00; St. Louis 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 3. Kenai River, Goodmanson (Simson), pp, 2:10. 4. St. Louis, Allen (Sheehan, Kirchhevel), 11:54. Penalties -- Kenai River 5 for 10:00; St. Louis 4 for 8:00.
Third period -- 5. Kenai River, Annunziato (un.), sh, 3:19. 6. St. Louis, Reinthaler (Quick, Hudson), pp, 13:30. Penalties -- Kenai River 4 for 8:00.
Overtime -- 7. Kenai River, Simson (Gawron), 0:50. Penalties -- none.
Shots on goal -- Kenai River 8-9-3-2--22; St. Louis 10-16-18-0--44.
Goalies -- Kenai River, Hamby (44 shots, 41 saves); St. Louis, Cinotti (22 shots, 18 saves).
Power plays -- Kenai River 1 for 6; St. Louis 1 for 11.
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