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Aces win 4-3, take over first place

February 28, 2005 - ECHL (ECHL) - Alaska Aces News Release

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Aces coughed up a 3-1 third period lead but recovered to win a shootout over Fresno 4-3 and take over sole possession of first place in the West Division in front of 5,184 Sunday at Sullivan Arena.

Alaska led for all but 90 seconds of regulation, as B.J. Young scored on the game’s first shift by stuffing a loose puck just underneath Fresno goalie Jamie Hodson’s right skate just 29 seconds into the game. After the Aces failed to convert a two-man advantage midway through the second period, Scott Gomez pushed the margin to 2-0 when he scored at even strength, on a one-timer from Chris Minard at the 13:30 mark for his ninth goal of the year.

A poor Alaska change while shorthanded led to Fresno’s first goal, an easy tap-in off the rush by Simon Mangos at 16:23. The game turned dramatically with 28 seconds left in the period when Hodson, with heavy traffic in front of him, was caught off-balance on a wrist shot by Charles Linglet, which flew over his prostrate form, giving the Aces a 3-1 cushion heading into the final period. Hodson, apparently furious that no goaltender interference was called, appeared to make contact with referee Jamie Koharski and was promptly ejected, hurling his stick behind him toward center ice as he departed with 30 saves.

Brett Jaeger, who had stopped 49 shots in a 2-1 Fresno shootout win Saturday, turned aside all 18 he faced in relief, allowing the Falcons to crawl back into the game. A perfect tip by Jason Weaver found the net just underneath the crossbar 1:49 into the final period, reducing Alaska’s lead to 3-2. With barely a minute to go, Fresno pulled Jaeger and promptly scored for the first time all season with the extra attacker, as Charles Simard found a cutting Weaver in front of the net, who slid the puck by Aces starter Lance Mayes (32 saves) with 61 seconds left in regulation.

Alaska piled up another season-high in shots with 51, including five in overtime, but the game had to be settled in a shootout, where after two Falcons missed and Chris Minard failed to score for the Aces, the next seven shooters scored, including Linglet’s game-winner in the fifth and deciding round, giving Mayes his eighth straight win in goal and keeping Alaska unbeaten in its last 10 (8-0-2).

The Aces, 34-15-6 overall, have lost just three of their last 28 games (21-3-4) to surge by Long Beach and into first place in the West Division for the first time all year. Alaska welcomes the Ice Dogs to Anchorage for three games next weekend, with the Friday and Saturday clashes set for 7:15 p.m. and the Sunday finale scheduled at 5:05 p.m. The two teams split a pair of games in California November 12-13 in their only previous confrontation.

All three games against Long Beach will be made available via video webcast on a pay-per-view basis at Live coverage of all Alaska games on KFQD and B2 Networks begins 20 minutes prior to the opening face-off. For information on purchasing 2005-06 season tickets, please call 258-ACES.

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