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Amarillo, Kenai River pick up big wins on Wednesday

March 15, 2012

Brett Lubanski had a four-point night as Kenai River edged Fresno 5-4 to move back into the 4th and final playoff spot in the West (Cover photo: Patrick Johnston, Times Record News).

Amarillo 5 @ Wichita Falls 2 - It didn’t take long for the Amarillo Bulls offense to get back rolling again after being limited to one goal over the past weekend. Greg Gibson scored twice and Joe Kozlak added three helpers to power the Bulls past the Wichita Falls Wildcats 5-2 on Wednesday night at Kay Yeager Coliseum. It was the Bulls 40th win of the season.  Gibson gave the Bulls a 3-2 lead late in the second period thanks to a pass from Kozlak and then added an insurance marker on a breakaway early in the third period. The two were on a line with John Gustafsson who also got into the offense with a big goal in the middle stanza.  It was slow start to the game for the Amarillo Bulls, and surrendered the game’s first goal to the Wildcats Brennen Parker. However, near the end of the period the Bulls pulled even after having their second goal disallowed in as many games. John Rey tied the game on a blast from the point with five seconds remaining.  The second period was a much stronger one for the Bulls as they score twice. First John Gustafsson’s quick wrist shot found the back of the net from Karl Beckman at 10:10. After the Wildcats pulled even with a goal from Tyler Hope, the Bulls pulled back in front when Greg Gibson scored on a terrific feed from Joe Kozlak.  Gibson increased the Bulls lead to 4-2 early in the third period from Joe Kozlak, and then six minutes later Clint Carlisle rounded out the scoring with another great shot from the top of the face-off circle. Boxscore

Fresno 4 @ Kenai River 5 - The Kenai River Brown Bears scored three goals in the final 11:22 of the game to defeat the Fresno Monsters 5-4 on Wednesday at the Soldotna Sports Center.  The Bears entered the night two points behind the Monsters in the race for the final playoff spot out of the North American Hockey League West Division.  Fresno had taken that two-point lead with a 6-2 blowout of the Bears on Tuesday.  The Bears are now 27-23-3, which matches the franchise record for wins in a season. Fresno is 24-21-9.  The Bears came out flying Wednesday, but it was Fresno that took the upper hand in the game when Mikhail Bushinski scored just 2 minutes, 4 seconds in.  Brett Lubanski, on assists from Sean Muller and Chris Blessing, tied the game at 1. Lubanski would have four points on the night to increase his career total with the Bears to 151, by far the most in franchise history.  The Bears took the lead when Blessing, who had three points, scored a power-play goal on assists from Lubanski and Jesse Ramsey, who would tally three points. Kenai River then let Fresno come back to take the lead with some sloppy play.  Just 35 seconds into the second period, a blue-line turnover led to a breakaway goal by Luke Sandler.  Then, 3:24 into the third, another blue-line turnover led to a two-on-none and another Sandler goal for a 3-2 Fresno lead.  When Jesse Durfee gave Fresno a 4-2 lead with 14:09 to play, the Bears were staring a four-point deficit in the playoff race in the face. Conor Deal, on assists from Zac Lazzaro and Kellen Patrick, started the comeback with a goal with 11:22 left. Ramsey scored with 4:42 left on assists from Blessing and Lubanski. Raymond Stenehjem then notched the game-winner on a power-play goal with 2:51 to play. Ramsey and Lubanski assisted. Austin Severson made 19 saves to record his 20th victory for the Bears this year. He is the first goalie in franchise history to reach that mark. Tomas Sholl had 25 saves for the Monsters. Boxscore

 
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