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Bears get a hard earned point

Monday, November 30, 2009

Story last updated at 11/30/2009 – 2:23 pm

Bears collect a point: Ice Dogs stay hot, win in shootout

By Staff Report | Peninsula Clarion

The Kenai River Brown Bears snapped a nine-game pointless streak on Sunday at the Soldotna Sports Center, losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in front of 413 fans.

The Ice Dogs have now won six straight North American Hockey League contests. The team has not lost since a 6-2 drubbing on home ice at the hands of Texas.

Fairbanks coach Josh Hauge said the loss was embarrassing and called what turned to be a productive team meeting after that game.

That loss to Texas also was the first game for Ice Dogs forward Aaron Mcgill, who had the winning goal in Sunday\’s shootout.

After a 6-2 victory over the Brown Bears on Friday, a 4-2 victory on Saturday and Sunday\’s win, Fairbanks is now 16-11-1 and just four points behind second-place Alaska Avalanche of Wasilla in the tough West Division.

How tough? The Ice Dogs now have the fifth-best record in the league.

The Brown Bears fell to 5-22-2, but coach Oliver David was happy with the way his team consistently improved over the course of the three-game set.

\”We clawed and clawed and clawed and fought back and fought back and fought back against a very skilled team,\” David said. \”I\’m a pretty proud coach right now.\”

The Ice Dogs are now the top-scoring team in the league with 108 goals. David was pleased his team was able to hold Fairbanks to less goals in each game played over the holiday weekend.

\”I think we\’re all exhausted and we came away with one point,\” David said. \”We need more of the same and better. I think we have more in us.\”

The Brown Bears received a boost from newly acquired goaltender Dainis Vasiljevs of Latvia. He made 33 saves.

Then in the shootout, Zach Tolkinen was the only one of the first five Fairbanks shooters to score a goal. Among those denied were Michael Juola, the top scorer in the league, and Mark Pustin, the second-leading scorer in the league.

Brett Lubanski was the only Brown Bears player to score in the first five tries of the shootout. Mcgill then scored as the sixth shooter, and Kenai River\’s Braden Kinnebrew was denied by Mike Taffe to end the game.

\”In the shootout, we did not do our job. He did all he could do,\” said David, speaking of Vasiljevs.

The Brown Bears scored first in the game as Soldotna High School\’s Brad Duwe lit the lamp on an assist by Jesse Ramsey with 6:57 left in the first period. It was Duwe\’s sixth goal of the season.

David said Duwe, in his first year wi th the Brown Bears, is learning the consistent effort that junior hockey requires, as compared with midget hockey. David said Duwe was so good in midget hockey that he could still round up points without playing his best.

\”Duwe played very well the entire weekend,\” David said. \”He dipped a little bit in Fairbanks. He had a tough weekend there.

\”He definitely rebounded.\”

After Politz knotted the game in the second period, Derek Bayagich scored a power-play goal assisted by Duwe and Doug Beck. It was Bayagich\’s second goal of the year.

James Saintey scored with 33 seconds left in the second period, then both teams could not find the back of the net in the third period and overtime.

David also said he saw good things from Colby Smith-Mass, a top midget player in the state who has been affiliated by the Brown Bears. That means he can play up to six games with the club this season.

After the game, the Brown Bears also announced they had obtained Johan Skinnars, a forward, in a trade with the Ice Dogs. Skinnars, who has three goals and six assists this season, played all three games against the Brown Bears this weekend and had an assist on Friday.

The product of Sweden was traded for future considerations, according to David.

\”We needed leadership and a skill guy who could work the power play,\” David said. \”We feel fortunate to get somebody who wants to play in Alaska and will put hockey first.\”

The Brown Bears will host the Alaska Avalanche of Wasilla on Dec. 8 at 7:05 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Ice Dogs 3, Brown Bears 2, SO

Fairbanks 0 2 0 0 1 –3

Kenai River 1 1 0 0 0 –2

First period — 1. Kenai River, Duwe (Ramsey), 13:03. Penalties — Fairbanks 1 for 2:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Second period — 2. Fairbanks, Politz (un.), 1:05; 3. Kenai River, Bayagich (Duwe, Beck), pp, 5:08; 4. Fairbanks, Saintey (Nelson, Juola), 19:27. Penalties — Fairbanks 3 for 6:00; Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Third period — none. Penalties — none.

Overtime — none. Penalties — none.

Shootout — Fairbanks 2 (Tolkinen G, Pustin NG, Politz NG, Larson NG, Juola NG, Mcgill G); Kenai River 1 (Glick NG, Lubanski G, Beck NG, Ramsey NG, Fusaro NG, Kinnebrew NG).

Shots on goal — Fairbanks 9-15-6-5–35; Kenai River 3-8-15-0–26.

Goalies — Fairbanks, Taffe (26 shots, 24 saves); Kenai River, Vasiljevs (35 shots, 33 saves).

Power plays — Fairbanks 0 for 2, Kenai River 1 for 4.