To use a market analogy, Kenai River Brown Bears stock rocketed over the weekend, Anchorage Wolverines stock tanked and Fairbanks Ice Dogs stock just sort of held even.

Kenai River marched into Fairbanks and seized four points from a two-game, North American Hockey League series with a 3-0 win Friday and a 4-3 overtime win Saturday. The Ice Dogs at least mustered one point in the standings. But Anchorage came up empty, losing at home 4-2 to the Minnesota Wilderness on Friday and eating a 6-2 loss Saturday.

The fallout: Kenai River strengthened its postseason prospects, Fairbanks didn’t do itself too much damage and Anchorage’s margin for error narrowed.

With a month left in the 60-game regular season, Fairbanks and Kenai River are in playoff position in the Midwest Division – remember, the top four teams from the eight-team division qualify for the Robertson Cup playoffs – but Anchorage remains on the outside looking in.

Here’s the situation:

  • 1) Wisconsin Windigo, 31-16-3, 65 points, 10 games left
  • 2) Minnesota Wilderness, 28-15-7, 63 points, 10 games left
  • 3) Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 26-20-2, 58 points, 8 games left
  • 4) Kenai River Brown Bears, 27-22-3, 57 points, 8 games left
  • 5) Chippewa Steel, 26-21-2, 54 points, 11 games left
  • 6) Anchorage Wolverines, 23-20-7, 53 points, 10 games left
  • 7) Janesville Jets, 22-21-9, 53 points, 8 games left
  • 8) Springfield Jr. Blues, 21-26-2, 44 points, 11 games left

Realistically, Wisconsin and Minnesota have all but locked up playoff spots. That leaves five teams — Fairbanks, Kenai River, Chippewa, Anchorage and Janesville — trying to earn one of the two remaining playoff berths.

Kenai River and Anchorage are both idle this weekend. Fairbanks entertains last-place Springfield for two games.

Kenai River’s wins last weekend were engineered in large part by goaltender Nils Wallstrom, who announced his commitment to American International University during the week, then stopped 25 shots in Friday’s 3-0 win for his fourth shutout of the season. Saturday, he replaced UAA commit Bryant Marks after one period and stopped 21 of 22 shots in the 4-3 OT win. Save to say a .979 save percentage on the weekend will work.

Bryce Monrean

UAF commit Bryce Monrean of Anchorage had two assists for Kenai River on Friday and authored a goal Saturday. He’s put up 3-8—11 totals in his last eight games to push his season totals to 15-21—36 in 51 games. Carson Triggs played hero for the Brown Bears on Saturday, when he scored the game-tying goal and the game-winning goal. Colin Goff of Wasilla had a goal for Fairbanks on Saturday.

Anchorage stumbled Friday, trailing 4-0 through two periods. Aiden Westin of Anchorage, the UAA commit, had a goal and assist in the third period, when defenseman Clay Allen of Anchorage assisted on both Wolverines goals. Cameron Morris of Anchorage had two assists Saturday for the Wolverines.

Special teams didn’t do the Wolverines any favors in the series. Minnesota went a combined 4-for-10 on the power play while Anchorage went 0-for-6.

The end of the series came with Anchorage captain Andy Ramsey tagged for 40 penalty minutes after the final horn. He received a game misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct and another 20 minutes for abuse of official (obscene gesture), according to the game summary.

In the U.S. Hockey League, Bret Link of Anchorage scored a goal for Fargo and teammate Mac Swanson of Anchorage had an assist in a 4-3 win at Sioux City. The linemates switched it up Saturday, when Swanson scored a power-play goal and Link had an assist in a 5-4 win at Sioux Falls.

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