Aces rally, then see third period lead evaporate in 7-5 loss
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Alaska Aces twice rallied from three-goal deficits to take the lead after two periods, but saw Victoria storm back with three unanswered goals to pull out a 7-5 win in front of 4,458 Sunday evening at Sullivan Arena.
Coupled with a 4-1 victory last night after a 2-0 loss Friday, the Salmon Kings (27-11-5) earned their first ever triumph in a three-game series against the Aces dating to their entry into the ECHL back in 2004. Alaska, meanwhile, suffered its third loss in regulation when leading after two periods this year after at least managing a point under those circumstances for the last three full seasons.
Victoria raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, chasing Aces starter Kris Tebbs in the process. Ryan Wade beat him with a drive from the top of the right circle at 4:40, and a laser by Ash Goldie that whistled past Tebbs' glove hand ended his night with 9:54 still remaining in the opening frame. Goldie greeted his replacement, Derek Gustafson, with a power play goal, his second of the night, at 12:42. Olivier Filion pulled Alaska within 3-1 on the power play with 2:28 remaining, his first of two on the evening.
Wes Goldie pushed the Salmon Kings in front 4-1 with his 20th goal of the year only 88 seconds into the middle period, but Victoria embarked on a parade to the penalty box that threatened its hold on the game. Seven minor penalties against the Salmon Kings allowed the Aces back into the game, beginning with Filion's power play goal, his 16th of the year at 10:56. 42 seconds later, Peter Metcalf unleashed a drive from between the circles with Alaska on a two-man advantage to reduce the deficit to a single goal at 4-3. Victoria's lead remained intact and the visitors got a chance for some breathing room on the power play, only to surrender their league-worst 12th shorthanded goal of the season on a Kimbi Daniels breakaway at 15:35. Daniels followed that goal with another, this time on a power play with 35 seconds left in the period (his 15th of the year), and suddenly, the Aces found themselves up 5-4 at the break.
Having seen a 4-1 lead turn into a 5-4 deficit in a span of 8:29, the Salmon Kings managed to re-group between periods, and quickly tied the game at 4:45 of the third period on a power play goal by Matt Kelly, who beat Gustafson with a backhand re-direction off the rush. Kelly matched his goal total prior to the game with his second of the night, and Victoria's third on the power play, to regain the lead for the visitors at 6-5 with 6:51 left in regulation. 67 seconds later, Ash Goldie completed his hat trick, and the Aces failed to muster a second comeback, falling to 20-15-5 overall on the season.
With just two wins in its last nine games (2-5-2), Alaska hits the road for another three-games-in-three-nights series at Utah, beginning Thursday at 4:45 p.m. AT. The Aces managed three points out of a three-game series against the Grizzlies in Anchorage just after Christmas. All regular season games are broadcast live on Alaska's flagship station, AM 750 KFQD, with coverage beginning 15 minutes prior to face-off.
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