March 16, 2013 - North American Hockey League (NAHL) - Wenatchee Wild
SOLDOTNA, Alaska - Chris Kerr (Penticton, British Columbia) recorded a hat trick, but it wasn't enough for the Wenathchee Wild, who were dealt a 7-5 loss by the Kenai River Brown Bears Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center in Soldotna, Alaska.
The Brown Bears drew first blood Friday in the second game of a 3-game series when Zaz Lazzaro redirected a puck into the Wild cage during a power play. Vincent Stefan and Brad Duwe picked up the assists.
A 5-minute major penalty for cross checking, coupled with a 2-minute tripping penalty against Kenai River, opened the door for Wenatchee. The Wild took advantage of the opportunity, scoring two goals, both by Kerr, in less than two minutes to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room at the first intermission.
Kerr's first goal of the game came during the 2-man advantage when he banged in a pass from Noah Nelson (Oconomowoc, Wis.) from point blank range with 4:21 left in the first frame. Jono Davis (La Verne, Calif.) also assisted.
Kerr scored his second goal of the contest a little over a minute later when he knocked in a rebound off Nelson's shot. Davis also assisted on Kerr's second goal of the contest, which lifted the Wild to a 2-1 lead.
Robert Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made sure the Wild kept the lead early in the second period when he denied Matt Seidel on a penalty shot, but the remainder of the second period did not go well for the Wild, who surrendered three straight goals to find themselves trailing 4-2 after 40 minutes of play.
Kenai River extended it lead to 5-2 early in the third period on Lazzaro's second goal of the contest, but the Wild weren't done yet. Wenatchee rattled off three straight goals in less than six minutes in the third period to force a 5-5 tie before the midpoint of the final frame.
Kerr's hat trick goal, scored from the high slot, started Wenatchee's three-goal run 3:35 into the third period. Max McHugh (Edgewood, Wash.) and Josh Hartley (Coquitlam, British Columbia) assisted. Jacob Barber (Dardenne Prairie, Mo.) scored less than two minutes later during a power play when he tapped in a rebound. Nelson and Hartley assisted.
Joe Sullivan (Las Vegas, Nev.) tied up the game for the Wild, 5-5, with 10:40 left in regulation during a man-advantage when he powered toward the net from the right wing and beat the goaltender short side off of a pass from Hartley. However, the Brown Bears reclaimed the lead roughly two minutes later on Alex Jackstadt's eventual game-winner and scored an empty-netter to close out scoring.
Kerr led the Wild with three goals. It was his second career hat trick with the Wild. He scored four goals last season in a 6-1 victory over the Dawson Creek Rage on Dec. 4, 2011. Hartley and Nelson both recorded three assists. Duwe notched five points (2G, 3A) for the Brown Bears while Stefan recorded four points (1G, 3A).
Kris Oldham earned the win, making 31 saves on 36 shots for Kenai River. Nichols and Nick Schmit (Fargo, N.D.) combined to make 33 saves on 39 shots for Wenatchee.
Wenatchee scored four power-play goals on seven chances while Kenai River scored three man-advantage markers on six opportunities.
Game 3 of this weekend's series between the Wild (36-13-6) and Brown Bears is Saturday. Faceoff is set for 8:30 p.m. Fans can watch the game live for a small fee by logging on to www.FASTHockey.com.