The Topeka Pilots had their chances but could not break through on Saturday night at Landon Arena.
Topeka (8-5-0) kept pace with the Kenai River Brown Bears much of the contest but could not solve goaltender Gavin Enright, falling 5-2 on youth jersey giveaway night.
Tied 1-1 in the second period, Kenai River (8-5-1) tacked on two second period tallies, making it 3-1 after two frames and giving the Pilots a tough task to make a third period comeback.
Following an early goal by Kenai River in the third period, Pilots forward Michael Muschitiello cut the lead to 4-2 with a third period tally at 11:18.
The Pilots pulled goaltender Emil Gransoe, who came on in relief of goaltender Sam Metcalf, but the Brown Bears tacked on an empty net goal at 15:03.
“We just didn’t have our best game tonight,” Pilots head coach Simon Watson said. “Kenai River capitalized when they had chances, so we have to give credit to them.”
Kenai River opened the scoring just six seconds into the first period, making it 1-0 before fans had gotten situated.
Forward Hugh Quinn got it knotted up at 6:58 of the first period, beating Enright and making it 1-1. Topeka outshot Kenai River 10-9 in the first, with the Brown Bears holding a slim 32-31 shots on goal for the contest.
Topeka will look to regroup and continue its home stand next weekend, facing the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Friday and Saturday at Landon Arena.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to it this week in practice and next weekend against Fairbanks,” Watson said. “It’ll be a good challenge for our team. We’ll regroup and be ready to go.”