Season high 6,318 fans take in Justin Johnson goal in his final appearance
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Jussi Olkinuora turned in a 35 save effort, his only goal allowed to veteran Justin Johnson and the Ontario Reign defeated the Alaska Aces, 2-1 before a season-high crowd of 6,318 at Sullivan Arena on Saturday in the Aces' season finale.
Alaska officially closed the season at home reaching 20 victories at Sullivan Arena for the 12th consecutive season and manufactured a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes. Johnson, an Anchorage native playing in his 390th career game (spanning the ECHL, AHL and NHL), collected the final goal of his career and of the Aces season late in the period.
FINAL STATS: Box score | AUDIO: Game highlights (KFQD) | GOAL: Johnson (KFQD)
Niklas Lundstrom and Troy Redmann split the game in net and Lundstrom took the loss with 13 stops.
Everett Sheen put Ontario ahead, 1-0 in the first period on a rebound goal to Lundstrom's blocker side at 7:34. Josh Brittain snuck a wrist shot through traffic at the left circle and Sheen crashed the net in search of the rebound.
Johnson then responded for the 1-1 tie, sending Sullivan Arena into a frenzy with the final goal of his career. Justin Breton wired a centering pass to Slater Doggett, and Johnson lofted the rebound over Olkinuora with 3:41 remaining.
The first period materialized with the Aces generating several good looks at the Ontario net with speed, posting an 18-7 shots advantage. But Maxim Kitsyn restored Ontario's lead on his career high 26th goal with 8:08 left. Kitsyn jumped on a loose puck at the left circle and converted a wrist shot past Lundstrom.
The Aces outshot Ontario 11-9 in the third period and earned a threat to tie the game on an Erik Higby one-timer that Olkinuora turned away with his pad. With an extra attacker replacing Redmann, the Aces worked a dump in at the Ontario and Olkinuora eyed an empty net goal bid. Greg Wolfe stepped in front to block the shot, but couldn't handle a rolling puck while Olkinuora scrambled to return to the net.
NOTES: The Aces scratched Brendan Connolly, Bryan Cameron, Brad Cole, Curt Gogol, Ryan Tesink, and Brad Gorham ... the Aces finished the season firing 30 shots or more in 11 of the last 12 games ... the Aces finished the all-time series with Ontario at 35-22-9 ... Ontario will play next season in the American Hockey League ... Connolly finished as the Aces leader in goals (31), assists (46), points (77) and power play points (21), reaching career-highs in points ... the Aces drew over 16,000 fans to Sullivan Arena for the final three home games of the season.
For Kelly Cup championship merchandise, 2015-16 season tickets, corporate sponsorship packages, and more information, please call 907-258-ACES. The Aces can also be visited on Facebook at www.facebook.com/alaskaaceshockey or on Twitter, @AlaskaAces.
1. ONT - J. Olkinuora
2. AK - J. Johnson
3. ONT - M. Kitsyn
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