With their defense absolutely battered by injuries, the Alaska Aces turned to former UAA defenseman Brad Gorham of Anchorage this weekend, and he served them quite well.
Gorham, who wrapped his college career last spring and is a mechanical engineer for BP, played in all three wins against San Francisco -- the Aces wrapped a sweep with Sunday's 3-2 win -- and logged significant ice time in his first pro games.
Sunday, when a lower-body injury to defenseman Dustin Molle of Anchorage left him on the bench for the second half of the game, Gorham picked up more minutes. He killed penalties several times in the third period when the Aces protected a 3-2 lead, and twice he cut short San Francisco power plays by drawing penalties.
"I had no uneasiness about putting him out there in any situation,'' said Louis Mass, who coaches the club's defense.
Mass said he was particularly struck by how quickly Gorham, 26, adapted to the Aces' systems and by his commitment.
"You could tell it was important to him to play well,'' Mass said. "It wasn't just, 'I'm out here,' but 'I'm out here to play well.' What a luxury for us.''
Gorham said he had a blast and would help out the Aces again if asked.
"It was a lot of fun,'' he said. "You don't get that opportunity very often, especially in your hometown, and with this group of guys -- some of them I grew up with. It's very special.''
After playing three games in less than 48 hours, Gorham returns to his day job Monday.
"Back to the office,'' he said.