Before Saturday night, the Alaska Aces three times this hockey season faced a two-goal deficit in the first period.
All three times -- against Las Vegas, Bakersfield and Idaho -- the Aces rebounded to win by at least three goals.
But chasing the game is generally a recipe for rink ruin, as the Aces discovered Saturday night in Boise when they again fell behind by two goals in the first period. This time, they lost the game -- 4-2 to the Idaho Steelheads -- and their nine-game ECHL winning streak.
Alaska assistant coach Louis Mass ran the bench because head coach Rob Murray left Boise on Saturday morning to return home. Murray's wife, Carolyn, is expecting the couple's fifth child, due anytime.
The Aces (9-2-0), who lost for the first time in six road matches, twice edged back to within a goal, at 2-1 in the opening minute of the second period and 3-2 late in the game.
But after the first of Evan Trupp's two goals, on the power play 56 seconds into the second period, the Aces could not score the equalizer.
And when Trupp scored with 3:01 left to cut Idaho's lead to 3-2, the Steelheads answered in a hockey heartbeat on Justin Mercier's goal 14 seconds later.
Idaho (4-4-1) jumped on top 1-0 on Anthony Nigro's goal just 4:29 into the game and boosted its lead on Tyler Gron's strike with about five minutes left in the first period.
Aces goaltender Mark Guggenberger stopped 20 shots. Newcomer Olivier Roy, assigned to the Aces by the Calgary Flames after he was part of a four-player trade of NHL-contracted players between Calgary and Edmonton on Friday, joined the team and served as Guggenberger's back-up.
Idaho's Pat Nagle made 26 saves.
The Aces entertain Las Vegas in a three-game series at Sullivan Arena starting Friday. Last month, Alaska swept a three-game series in Sin City.
Shuffling the deck
Mass is 1-1-0 when filling in as head coach. In 2011, the Aces beat visiting Bakersfield when Mass ran the bench because Brent Thompson was serving a one-game suspension after a Gong Show (249 penalty minutes) the night before between the Aces and Condors.
Peter Sivak's assist on Trupp's first goal boosted his point streak to nine games. He owns 6-11--17 totals in that stretch.
Captain Nick Mazzolini also assisted on that goal to push his point streak to eight games, with 3-8--11 totals in that span.
First Period -- 1, Idaho, Nigro 6 (Robinson), 4:29; 2, Idaho, Gron 2 (Button, Grant), 14:36. Penalties -- Grant, Idaho (delay of game-puck over glass), 5:18; Robinson, Idaho (goaltender interference), 20:00.
Second Period -- 3, Aces, Trupp 5 (Mazzolini, Sivak), :56 (pp). Penalties -- Syvret, Aces (slashing), 8:09; Idaho bench minor, served by Gron (too many men), 11:41; Connolly, Aces (slashing), 11:41; Vause, Idaho (slashing), 12:10; Mele, Aces (hooking), 16:15; Connolly, Aces (high-sticking), 17:34.
Third Period -- 4, Idaho, de Kastrozza 1 (Mercier, Patterson), 12:53; 5, Aces, Trupp 6 (Crum, Coffman), 16:59; 6, Idaho, Mercier 1 (de Kastrozza), 17:13. Penalties -- Gron, Idaho (high-sticking), :20.
Shots on goal -- Aces 7-9-12--28. Idaho 8-10-5--24.
Power-play Opportunities -- Aces 1 of 4. Idaho 0 of 3.
Goalies -- Aces, Guggenberger, 4-1-1 (24 shots-20 saves). Idaho, Nagle, 3-2-1 (28-26).
A -- 4,485 (5,006). T -- 2:24.
Referee -- Ryan Murphy. Linesmen -- Scott DeBaugh, Andrew Wetzel.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog.