Coulee Region Chill 5, Kenai River Brown Bears 4
With how the first game of the two-game series started some may say the Chill – winners of their previous three games – came into last weekends series against the last place Kenai River Brown Bears looking ahead to this weekends games against the Janesville Jets and Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
The Chill scored first after first-year player Scott Corbett put the puck in the back of the net with a dish from Matt Doran but the Brown Bears weren’t intimidated by the surging Coulee Region. Joey Sardina of Kenai River quickly tied the game back at one but Dom Florian (Nico Luka, Isaac Theisen assisted) caught the Brown Bears sleeping and scored short handed before the end of the first.
The Chill went up 3-1 at the start of the 2nd with a goal from Phil Erickson (Shane Kuzmeski, Jackson Charlesworth) but Kenai River tied the game back up 3-3 before the end of the 2nd with goals from Cory Dennis and Gunnar Goodmanson.
The 3rd period saw both Coulee Region and Kenai River score on power plays, first from Florian with the Chill and then Jordan Hank with the Brown Bears. The score was 4-4 heading into the last minute of regulation when forward Kevin Dineen drew a penalty and had a chance at a penalty shot with just :15 seconds left. Magnus Lindhe was up to the task, however, and stonewalled Dineen’s shot and the two teams went into overtime.
Head coach AJ Degenhardt has had the Chill prepared for overtimes all season, entering last Friday nights game 8-0 in extra 3-on-3 hockey. Like he’s done all year he rolled three defenseman to start and the Brown Bears failed to execute on defense as Kuzmeski found Luka across in the slot and the Chill won the game 5-4 and improved to 9-0 in overtime/shoot-outs.
Matiss Kivlenieks, fresh off of being named NAHL Goalie of the Month for the month of February, got the win in net and improved to 13-8 on the season as he stopped 24/28 goals. Lindhe took the loss for Kenai River.
Coulee Region Chill 6, Kenai River Brown Bears 1
Saturday night was a different story. The Chill came out firing with four goals in the first from Alex Lambacher (Corbett, Kuzmeski), Larry Jungwirth (Dineen, Charlesworth), Erickson (Florian, Doran), and Justin Kendall (Jungwirth, Dineen).
Kenai River scored on a short-handed goal in the 2nd but that’s all the scoring that’d occur for the Brown Bears. With only four team shots in the 3rd, the Chill converted on two of them with goals from Erickson (Corbett) and Joey Sofo (Alex Falconer, Davis Zembergs).
Hunter Vorva got the call Saturday night saving 33/34 shots on the night. Nast started the game for Kenai River and played 48:33 but Lindhe would take the loss in only 11:27 of playing time.
The Chill are back in action in La Crosse this weekend for three games starting Thursday night against the Janesville Jets and then for a series against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. All games start at 7pm.