FAIRBANKS — The Kenai River Brown Bears are taking the ERA Alaska Cup series quite seriously.
After Saturday night’s 2-0 North American Hockey League win against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs at the Soldotna Sports Center, the Brown Bears hold a 3-1 advantage against the Ice Dogs in the
16-game series determining Alaska’s top junior hockey team.
The Ice Dogs couldn’t solve Kenai River goalie Sean Healy Saturday night as the Brown Bears’ netminder stopped all 30 shots coming his direction to give his team a two-game series sweep.
The Brown Bears won the series opener 4-3 Friday night.
“Their goalie’s played well all weekend,” Fairbanks coach Trevor Stewart said in a postgame telephone interview.
Stewart said he was disappointed with the Ice Dogs play in the offensive zone, even though Fairbanks outshot Kenai 30-26 on the night.
“We didn’t do enough to generate any credible scoring chances and when we did, we didn’t bear down on those scoring chances,” Stewart said.
Stewart said there is a way to correct the offensive slowdown.
“We need better work ethic in the offensive zone and that’s something we’ll establish in practice this week,” the second-year coach said.
The Ice Dogs return home to host the Brown Bears in 7:30 p.m. games on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena in Fairbanks.
“The table is set for any motivation these guys need to bounce back from this,” Stewart said.
In Saturday night’s game, the Brown Bears scored the only goal they needed at 4:54 of the first period. Brian Berry took feeds from Alec Butcher and Albin Karlsson and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Brown Bears tacked on an insurance power-play goal in the third period with five minutes left on the clock. Ryan Walker scored the goal with an assist from Alex Jackstadt.
“It was the result of an undisciplined penalty on our part,” Stewart said.
Ice Dogs goalie Kevin Aldridge stopped 24 shots Saturday night.
The Ice Dogs were 0 for 3 on the power play and t he Brown Bears were 1-3.