LIKE A POT OF GOLD
Sean Curry’s goal in the third period stood as the game winner and Connor Knapp made 24 saves for his second win in as many nights, boosting the Alaska Aces (39-17-5, 83 points) to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Eagles before 5,860 fans at Sullivan Arena on Saturday.
The Aces, who claimed four points in the “three-in-three” series against their Mountain Division rival, ended the regular season home schedule with 26 wins (1st, ECHL) which equaled their output of their most recent Kelly Cup championship squad in 2010-11. Brett Findlay (goal, assist and fight) and Jordan Morrison led the Aces offense with a goal and an assist each.
Peter Sivak put the Aces ahead 1-0, 1:27 into the game when he finished a highlight reel set-up by Tyler Mosienko, who zipped a pass behind his back to Nick Mazzolini, who re-directed it to Sivak in the slot.
Findlay boosted the lead to 2-0 at 16:08 of the second period, finishing Jordan Morrison’s centering bid from the right boards, seconds after a thunderous collision into the right corner which eliminated Jesse Mychan from the play. Findlay was wide open between the circles, drove the net and beat Dustin Butler through the five-hole.
Kevin Ulanski drew the Eagles to within a goal just a minute into the third period on a major power play, after chaos broke out at center ice (resulting in Drew MacKenzie’s ejection for spearing) following the Findlay goal. But Curry finished a tape-to-tape feed by Findlay at the right circle, glove side on Butler, for a 3-1 lead at 8:34 of the final period.
Greg Gardner slammed a one-timer past Knapp from the right circle to cut the lead to 3-2 with 4:40 left in regulation after the Aces failed to clear their zone. But as Colorado put in a bid to tie the game in the final minute, Jordan Morrison carried the puck up the right wing and stashed a backhander from the center ice red line for an empty net goal and 4-2 lead, with 12.4 seconds left.
Butler took the loss on 29 saves.
NOTES: The Aces scratched Dustin Molle, Mathew Sisca, Zach McKelvie, Eli Zuck, David Eddy … Nick Mazzolini played in his 300th professional game of his career … Sivak’s goal gave him 11 points in the last 9 games … the Aces finished the regular season at 26-8-2 at home and moved back into the top record in the ECHL (Ontario was idle).
The Aces embark on a regular season ending 10-game road trip, beginning next Thursday against the Las Vegas Wranglers at 6:05 p.m. (KFQD). Season ticket and sponsorship packages are currently available through the Aces office at 15th & Gambell. For more information, please call the Aces at 907.258.ACES or visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/alaskaaceshockey.
1. AK - B. Findlay
2. AK - S. Curry
3. AK - C. Knapp