Junior Hockey: 'D' shines as Bruins complete sweep of Bears
AUSTIN— The Austin Bruins won the special-teams battle and goalie Nick Lehr turned in another strong performance in a 3-1 victory against Kenai River (Alaska) on Saturday at Riverside Arena.
The Bruins scored once on the power play and once short-handed to earn a sweep against the Brown Bears, who were knocked out of first place in the North American Hockey League Midwest Division.
Austin (12-3-0) extended its lead in the NAHL Central Divison to three points over Aberdeen and Bismarck, both of which did not play on Saturday.
Kenai River (12-5-0) held a 1-0 lead halfway through the game on Albin Karlsson's power-play goal 3:28 into the first period.
But Austin shut the Brown Bears down the rest of the way as Lehr continued his impressive play with a 22-save performance. Lehr is now 11-2-0 with a 1.57 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. The Bruins' defense also did its job. After allowing an average of 35 shots on goal per game over the past five games entering the weekend, Austin limited the Bears to 24 shots on Friday and 23 on Saturday.
Lucas Kohls made it a 1-1 game when he one-timed a pass from Brennan Sanford at 13:36 of the second period. Less than four minutes later, defenseman Simon Petersson scored his first goal of the season, burying a point shot on a power play with an assist from Jay Dickman.
The Bruins added a crowd-pleasing short-handed insurance goal in the third, when Dickman hit defenseman Josh Bretner on a long pass and Bretner beat Bears goalie Zach Quinn (27 saves) at the 9:50 mark.
The Bruins now face a stretch of three games in four days. They play at the Minnesota Wilderness (Cloquet) on Wednesday, then play host to division foe Bismarck on Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
Bruins 3, Brown Bears 1
First period— 1. KR, Albin Karlsson 6 (Alec Butcher 13, Vincent Stefan 4) 3:28 (pp). Second period— 2. A, Lucas Kohls 4 (Brennan Sanford 3) 13:36. 3. A, Simon Petersson 1 (Jay Dickman 12) 17:07 (pp). Third period— 4. A, Josh Bretner 3 (Jay Dickman 13) 9:50 (sh).
Shots on goal— KR 8-9-6—23; A 11-9-10—30. Goalies— KR, Zach Quinn (L, 9-4-0; 27 saves); A, Nick Lehr (W, 11-2-0; 22 saves). Power-play opportunities— KR 1-for-6, A 1-for-5.
Penalties— KR, 10-31 minutes; A, 10-23 minutes.
Time— 2:17. Att.— 1,417.