Aces have their hands full with Steelheads

dwoody@adn.comMarch 13, 2013 

In a campaign rife with good numbers from the Alaska Aces -- most significantly, an ECHL-leading 46 wins and 98 points -- their stretch run this regular season centers on two numbers that can deliver rink rewards.

The Aces' magic number for clinching the Mountain Division, and thus no worse than the No. 2 playoff seed in the Western Conference, is six. Any combination of points earned by the Aces or dropped by the Idaho Steelheads equaling six would earn Alaska its third straight division title.

Meanwhile, the Aces' magic number for clinching the Western Conference crown and the Brabham Cup as regular-season champions of the 23-team league -- and, also, home ice throughout the Kelly Cup playoffs -- is nine. Their closest pursuer on that front is Ontario, which sits eight points behind Alaska.

As the luck of the schedule would have it, the Aces face either Idaho or Ontario in five of their remaining eight games. That stretch starts Wednesday night, when the Aces entertain the Steelheads in the opener of a three-game series at Sullivan Arena.

And while we're on the numbers front, note that Idaho is the only team that owns a winning record against the Aces this season, with victories in three of four meetings, all in Boise.

This series pits the Steelheads' league-leading offense (3.78 goals per game) against the Aces league-leading defense (2.33 goals allowed per game). It also pits Idaho's third-ranked power play (23.6 percent efficiency) against Alaska's league-leading, penalty-killing unit (87.9 percent efficiency). And it pits Idaho's third-most prolific shooting (32.37 shots per game) against Alaska's third-stingiest shot defense (27.14 shots allowed per game).

 

Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.

 

Idaho Steelheads

39-17-7

at

Alaska Aces

46-12-6

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 7:15 p.m., Sullivan Arena

Radio: Live, AM-750 and FM-103.7 KFQD

Idaho Steelheads

39-17-7

at

Alaska Aces

46-12-6

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 7:15 p.m., Sullivan Arena

Radio: Live, AM-750 and FM-103.7

 

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