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Kenai River Brown Bears blank Rage

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Zac Lazzaro scored two goals, Austin Severson registered a shutout in goal and the Kenai River Brown Bears defeated the Dawson Creek (British Columbia) Rage 4-0 Friday night at the Soldotna Sports Center. The Bears improve to 15-5-1 overall with 31 points, maintaining a three-point edge over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (11-5-6, 28 points) for first place in the North American Hockey League West Division. Last-place Dawson Creek drops to 5-14-1. The Bears and Rage square off again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the sports center. After a scoreless first period in which the Bears outshot the Rage 12-2, Kenai River got right to work in the second. Lazzaro, a first-year player, took a pass in front of the goal and one-timed the puck past Dawson Creek goaltender Edward Dyson with 18:30 to play. Kellen Wasell and Chris Nuth earned assists on the play. Fellow first-year athlete Keil Zornow then gave the Bears a 2-0 lead when he took a cross from Dominic Granato and clanked a left-handed shot off the crossbar with 3:09 to play in the period. Kenai River killed three power plays in the second frame, when Dawson Creek managed eight shots. In the third, Kenai River took advantage of a four-minute power play after a Dawson Creek player was called for checking from behind. With 30 seconds left on the advantage, Austin Sture sent the puck into the zone, where Alex Frere scooped it up and shoveled it in for his team-leading 16th goal of the season with 13:51 to play. Sture and Raymond Stenehjem earned assists on the exchange. A minute later, after Granato was sent to the box for an infraction, Lazzaro made it 4-0 with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway. That was more than enough for Severson, who improved to 9-1-1 in his rookie campaign. The 5-foot-9 goalie made 23 saves. The Bears played without returning players Sean Muller, Bobby Murphy, Matt Thompson and Ryan Walker. Friday Brown Bears 4, Rage 0 Dawson Creek 0 0 0 --0 Kenai River 0 2 2 --4 First period – No scoring. Penalties – Dawson Creek 2 for 4:00; Kenai River none. Second period – 1. Kenai River, Lazzaro (Wasell, Nuth), 1:30; 2. Kenai River, Zornow (Granato), 16:51. Penalties – Dawson Creek 1 for 5:00; Kenai River 4 for 11:00. Third period – 3. Kenai River, Frere (Sture, Stenehjem), pp, 6:09; 4. Kenai River, Lazzaro (unassisted), 7:30. Penalties – Dawson Creek 4 for 10:00; Kenai River 3 for 6:00. Penalties – Dawson Creek 7 for 19:00; Kenai River 7 for 17:00. Shots on goal – Dawson Creek (2-8-13—23); Kenai River (12-13-14—39). Goalies – Dawson Creek, Dyson (39 shots, 35 saves); Kenai River, Severson (23 shots, 23 saves). Power plays – Dawson Creek 0 for 5; Kenai River 1 for 4.

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