Weekend Preview: Kenai River Brown Bears
Soldotna, Alaska - The Springfield Jr. Blues will look to separate themselves from the pack in the Midwest Division as they face the Kenai River Brown Bears this weekend for an important three game matchup! The Jr. Blues head into the series with a 13-7-0-1 record for 27 points and are tied with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs for 1st place in the division.
The Jr. Blues secured a weekend split with the Ice Dogs for the second time in as many tries as they defeated their hosts 4-2 this past Friday before falling 6-3 on Saturday. Leo Bacallao secured four points on the weekend to take over the scoring lead for Springfield while Ethan Roberts picked up win number 9 on the season.
While the boys have been able to keep pace with the rest of the division, it's been over a month now since we've won a weekend series. And as we approach the halfway mark of the season, it'll be crucial to pick up as many points as possible each weekend. Six possible points are on the table this weekend for the Jr. Blues which, if everything goes to plan, could help the boys prove to the division and the league that we're in it for the long haul.
Kenai River has had a rough start to the season to say the least as they currently sit in last place in the Midwest Division with a 3-16-0-0 record for 6 points. But it's not been all bad as of late as the Brown Bears have defeated both Chippewa (4-2, October 22) and Anchorage (4-1, November 5) and have proved they are not a team to be overlooked. They are led offensively by Cole Dubicki (7 G, 9 A) and in net by Tommy Aitken and Bryant Marks.
Besides tuning in to catch the action between the Jr. Blues and Brown Bears, you'll want to keep your eye on the other series going on in the division: the Anchorage Wolverines and Fairbanks Ice Dogs battle it out for the first time, while the Wilderness battle the Steel and the Magicians travel to Janesville. Six teams are separated by six points for the top spot and we can assure you that things are going to be very interesting in the Midwest Division the rest of this season!
Behind the Note:
The Jr. Blues and Brown Bears have played each other 40 times since Kenai joined the NAHL in 2007-08. Springfield owns a 26-14 record against Kenai River and have won the season series 5 of the 8 years we have played them. After this weekend we will see the Brown Bears here in Springfield just before Christmas.
Despite their overall record, the Brown Bears special teams have not performed as bad as one might think. Their PP stands at 22.2% (just behind Springfield's 24%) and their PK is 75% which is middle of the pack in the division. Once again, the team that commits the least amount of special teams errors will have an advantage this weekend.
The Jr. Blues will look to continue their strong play on the road as they come into this series with a 8-5-0-0 record away from the Nelson Center. The Brown Bears on the other hand have a 3-6-0-0 record at home with a -14 goal differential.
Extra time has not been a factor to this point for either team as Springfield has just one game that's gone to overtime while Kenai River is the only team in the league without any overtime play.
Games This Weekend:
The action gets underway tonight at 10 pm CST for one of several Thursday road games we have slated for this season. Friday and Saturday's games both begin at 10:30 pm CST and all three games of the series can be seen LIVE on HockeyTV! Make sure to follow all of our social media channels for in-game updates and player news throughout the week!
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