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Monsters topple Brown Bears in shootout

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The Kenai River Brown Bears lost in a shootout to the host Fresno (Calif.) Monsters on Friday in North American Hockey League action.

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The Brown Bears suffered their first loss in extra time this season after winning their first five extra sessions, including two against the Monsters.

The score of the game was 3-2, with the Monsters taking the nine-round shootout 4-3 in front of 3,012 fans.

The Brown Bears are 9-4-1, tied for second place in the West Division with the Alaska Avalanche of Wasilla. Fresno is 8-5-2, just one point out of second.

The Bears jumped to a 3-1 lead in the shootout thanks to goals by Alex Frere, Sean Muller and Miikael Arkimo in the first three rounds. Riley Borer had the tally for Fresno.

Monsters goalie Macauley Haight would stop the next six Kenai River shooters to allow his team to come back.

Zack Wallace and Jeffrey Pauluk scored in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively, to push the shootout to extra rounds.

After Haight and Brown Bears goalie Austin Severson each stopped the first three shooters in the extra rounds, Fresno's Kyle Sucher finally got the game winner in the fourth extra round.

"It was a very good point for us," Kenai River coach Oliver David said Friday night via cell phone. "We remain undefeated on the road trip."

Kenai River is in the midst of a nine-game stretch away from the Soldotna Sports Center. The Brown Bears started the trip with two wins in Wenatchee, Wash., before Friday's overtime loss.

Fresno took a 1-0 lead just 4 minutes, 22 seconds, into the game when Mikhail Bushinski lit the lamp.

"The first five to eight shifts were not good," David said. "Then we were even, if not better, for the rest of the game."

Matt Thompson drew the Brown Bears even when Jacob Davidson and Arkimo assisted on a power-play goal with 14:25 left in the second. It was the first of two goals on the night for Thompson, increasing his season total to four.

Fresno came back with a power-play goal by Brendan Bradley with 10:50 left in the second. The Monsters, who have the best power play in the league, were 1 for 4 with the extra man.

Thompson scored again before the close of the second period when he teamed with Jesse Ramsey for a two-on-one.

The third period was tight, with Fresno getting six shots and Kenai River tallying four. Both teams had 23 shots on the night.

David said his squad had some good chances. Jeffrey McMinimy went to the box for four minutes with 6:42 left in regulation, but Kenai River could not convert.

Sucher then had a two-minute penalty with 15 seconds left, but the Brown Bears came up empty four-on-three in the first 1:45 of overtime. Kenai River finished 1 for 9 on the power play.

Kenai River was able to kill off a penalty by Chris Nuth with 1:45 left in overtime.

"I wish we were a lot better than they are, but we're not," David said. "We're pretty much even. We've played them four times, and three times we've gone to overtime."

The same two teams meet Saturday in Fresno at 6:35 p.m. ADT and Sunday in Fresno at 6:05 p.m. ADT.

Friday

Monsters 3, Brown Bears 2

Kenai River02000—2

Fresno11001—3

First period — 1. Fresno, Bushinski (Winkler, Borer), 4:22. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Fresno 3 for 6:00.

Second period — 2. Kenai River, Thompson (Davidson, Arkimo), pp, 5:35; 3. Fresno, Bradley (McMinimy, Borer), pp, 9:50; 4. Kenai River, Thompson (Ramsey), 14:44. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00; Fresno 2 for 4:00.

Third period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 2 for 4:00; Fresno 6 for 22:00.

Overtime — none. Penalties — Kenai River 1 for 2:00.

Shootout — Kenai River 3 (Frere G, Muller G, Arkimo G, Granato NG, Thompson NG, Sture NG, Lazzaro NG, Wasell NG, Murphy NG); Fresno 4 (Borer G, Bradley NG, Bittner NG, Wallace G, Pauluk G, Winkler NG, Bushinski NG, Sisk NG, Sucher G).

Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-9-4-2—23; Fresno 10-5-6-2—23.

Goalies — Kenai River, Severson (23 shots, 21 saves); Haight (23 shots, 21 saves).

Power plays — Kenai River 1 for 9; Fresno 1 for 4.

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