ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The defending champion Alaska Aces defeated a short-benched Colorado Eagles team (just 13 skaters), 4-1, ending the Eagles’ seven-game winning streak & 11-game point streak. Dan Kissel and Wes Goldie combined for six points on the night in the battle between the top two teams in the ECHL.
Alaska scored the game’s first goal — as they’ve made a habit of doing this season — just 3:30 into the opening period. The play developed when Aaron Schneekloth’s pass from the left wing in the defensive zone deflected off of Goldie’s skate and went right to Kissel in the right circle. Kissel picked up the puck and took over the team lead in goals with his 16th of the season.
Kyle Jones and the Eagles’ defense stood tall the rest of the first frame, as the netminder made several strong saves and Colorado’s penalty-killers went a perfect 2-for-2 in the period’s only power play opportunities.
Alaska’s top line continued to torment the Eagles in the second period, adding two more goals as they took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission. The second goal came at 5:52, occurring again off of a Colorado turnover. Brian Swanson stole the puck at center ice and sent Kissel & Goldie on a rush into the offensive zone, where he former set up the latter for his 16th goal of the season — re-tying him for the team lead in tallies.
Exactly eight minutes later, those two point-producers were at it again when Goldie took a shot from the left circle, only to have it rebound into the air where Kissel was able to knock it in on his back-hand as he glided behind the net. That goal, his second of the night, put him back in the team lead in the category.
Colorado played its best period in the third as they tried to climb back into the contest. Jones continued to make strong saves, but Adam Courchaine was just as stout at the other end of the ice. It looked as though he’d hand the Eagles their first shutout of the season until Michael Forney got Colorado on the board at 14:19.
Adam Chorneyko made the play possible as be fought hard in the right wing corner before sending the puck into the slot where the reigning ECHL Player of the Week put home a Liam Huculak rebound.
That was as close as the Eagles would come, however, and with Jones pulled for an extra attacker for the final two minutes, Jordan Kremyr put the puck into the empty net to ice the game with 46.2 seconds left.
The two teams will meet again Friday and Saturday in Alaska.