FAIRBANKS — Despite taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission of its North American Hockey League contest against Midwest Division rival Kenai River, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs fell to the Brown Bears in another Ravn Alaska Cup series bout.
Although Fairbanks and Kenai River began the third period tied 3-3, Kenai River exploded for three goals in the final frame to earn a 6-3 victory over the struggling Ice Dogs at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Saturday night.
The loss raised Fairbanks’ winless streak to 10 games as the club hasn’t earned a victory since it beat the Brown Bears 4-1 at the Big Dipper Ice Arena on Oct. 22. With the loss, the Ice Dogs fell to 7-13-2-1 overall. Kenai River, meanwhile, improved its overall record to 3-17-2-0 after upending Fairbanks 5-2 on Friday.
Marc Sullivan and Robert Blueger each beat the Brown Bears goaltender Robbie Goor to give the Ice Dogs a 2-0 lead in the opening period, though, Kenai River answered when Tyler Rock bested Fairbanks goalie Conor O’Brien to cut the Brown Bears’ deficit in half 16:59 into the first frame.
Kenai River carried momentum into the second period, as Luke Radetic and Matthew Thielemann both netted goals on O’Brien, who made 18 saves, to give the Brown Bears a 3-2 edge.
Although Luke Orysiuk bested Goor (14 saves) to tie it 17:07 into the middle frame, Radetic put Kenai River on top 4-3 when he scored his second goal of the night 56 seconds into the final period.
Ethan Stewart extended the Brown Bears’ lead 5:12 into the third before Radetic capped off his big night by scoring on an empty net to complete his hat trick in the final minutes.
Fairbanks didn’t score on any of its five power plays, while Kenai River lit the lamp on two of its seven man advantages.
Colton Fletcher had two assists for the Ice Dogs, and Blueger, Orysiuk, Sullivan and Grayson Favin each added helpers in the loss.
The Ice Dogs will look to snap their losing skid and regain control of this year’s Ravn Alaska Cup series when they meet the Brown Bears back at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex at 5 p.m. tonight.
Fairbanks entered the weekend with a 2-0 advantage in the series after earning 5-1 and 4-1 victories on Oct. 21 and 22, respectively.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Brad Joyal at 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter: @bradjoyal.