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Topeka advances to South Finals, while Brown Bears stay alive

April 10, 2014

Albin Karlsson scored twice to lead the Kenai River Brown Bears to a 4-3 win in Game 4, forcing a fifth and deciding game in the Midwest Division Semi-Final series.

Topeka RoadRunners 3 @ Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 2 (OT) (Topeka wins best of five series, 3-0) - The Topeka RoadRunners used an overtime goal from Jasen Fernsler to take a 3-2 victory on the road against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Wednesday night, clinching a sweep in the North American Hockey League South Division semifinals. After Rio Grande Valley evened the score with 1:32 left in the third period to send the game into the extra session, Fernsler netted the game-winning goal at the 14:54 mark of overtime. Yu Hikosaka put the RoadRunners on the board just 1:26 into the game, and Fernsler cashed in a power play at 15:26, helping Topeka take a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The two early goals prompted the Killer Bees to remove starting goalie Nick Schmit and insert Olli Kalkaja in net. After a scoreless second period, Rio Grande Valley crept within a goal after Dan Kucerovy put in a rebound at the 3:31 mark of the third. The Killer Bees then came up with the equalizer on Evan Schmidbauer’s late goal. Fernsler ended things after his shot deflected off the skate of a Killer Bee and found the back of the net. The RoadRunners will advance to the NAHL South finals for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Boxscore
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 1 @ Kenai River Brown Bears 4 (Best of five series tied, 2-2) - The Kenai River Brown Bears forced a deciding Game 5 in a first-round playoff series by defeating the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4-3 Wednesday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. Fairbanks was as close as possible to getting that first goal early in the first period, with Viktor Liljegren hitting the pipe 58 seconds into the game and Brett Gervais ringing the metalwork at the 15-minute mark. The Gervais shot came during a Fairbanks power play, and immediately after killing it off, Kenai River got to work with its top line, with passes from Alec Butcher and Sebastian Fuchs setting up Albin Karlsson from just inside the circle for a goal with 13:02 left in the first period. But Ross Olsson tied the game with 2:54 left in the first on a rebound goal. The second period again belonged to the pinpoint sniping of Karlsson. With 2:33 left in the period, he got a pass from Fuchs then did most of the work himself, curling to the high slot and wristing a shot past Dogs goalie Kevin Aldridge high and on the glove side. But with 18:04 left in the third period, Olsson answered right back for a 2-2 game when Jacob Hetz found him with a nice pass right in front of the net. But Kenai River responded to the goal by owning the next eight minutes of play. Matt Rudin pushed the Bears ahead with his first goal of the playoffs with 15:52 to play. Zack Zulkanycz and Jack Gessert had assists. Then with 11:47 left, Jacob Davidson buried a shot for a power-play goal for a 4-2 lead, assisted by Vince Stefan and Zulkanycz. Down 4-2, Fairbanks pressed hard in the last 10 minutes, pulling Aldridge with 2:04 left. But it was not until seven seconds remained that Liljegren was able to score on a protracted scrum in front of the net. Boxscore
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