Anchorage Wolverines fall 4-1 to Kenai River Brown Bears

The Kenai River Brown Bears got 35 saves from Bryant Marks of Wasilla to beat their new in-state rivals from Anchorage 4-1 in the first meeting of the North American Hockey League teams Friday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

The Wolverines, an expansion franchise in the 29-team junior hockey league, fell to 9-5-1-0 after the loss to their Midwest Division brethern.

The game was the first for Anchorage against an in-state opponent. The Midwest Division also features the division-leading Fairbanks Ice Dogs (12-5-0-1), which lost 4-2 on home ice to the Janesville Jets on Friday.

The last-place Brown Bears (3-13-0-0) took a first-period lead when defenseman Kevin Enriquez got his first goal of the season by beating Wolverines goalie Shane Soderwall (15 saves).

Kenai went up 2-0 when Gramm McCormack tallied in the second period and made it 3-0 in the third period on a goal by Luke Panchisin -- the smallest player in the game at 5-foot-8, 155 pounds.

The Wolverines avoided the shutout midway through the third period with a power-play goal by Colton Friesen, but the Brown Bears maintained a two-goal advantage from there until the final minute, when they got an empty-net goal from David Vieten.

The teams play again Saturday in Soldotna.