Aces add former ECHL All-Rookie Team selection

dwoody@adn.comNovember 13, 2013 

The Alaska Aces own an offense that ranked third in the 22-team ECHL entering Wednesday's play.

They have four players averaging at least one point per game and another who is close to that elite standard.

They feature six players on pace to easily surpass 20 goals for the season.

So, they do not lack scoring punch.

Yet even the Aces could not resist making an addition to the attack, which they did Wednesday by announcing the signing of free-agent forward Mathew Sisca, a former ECHL All-Rookie Team selection.

Sisca, 23, is a third-year pro who was released by the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears earlier this season after notching one assist in seven games.

But his rink resume spotlights bigger numbers. In 77 combined games between Bakersfield and Cincinnati as a rookie in 2011-12, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Sisca delivered 23-43--66 totals to finish 12th among ECHL scorers. And he led Orlando in scoring last season with 15-33--48 totals in 59 games.

Sisca, who shoots left and can play either center or wing, owns 38-77--115 totals in 143 career ECHL games. He will likely be in the lineup Friday night when the Aces open a three-game home series against the Las Vegas Wranglers.

Adding depth and a dynamic player in one move intrigued Aces coach Rob Murray, who now has 14 forwards on the roster. ECHL teams customarily dress 10 forwards among their 16 skaters.

"Right now, we're fairly healthy, but inevitably you lose a player or two to injury or a player or two will get called up to Abbotsford (of the American Hockey League),'' Murray said. "We felt this was an opportunity to insulate against that.

"That was basically the thought process. There was no need to make a change -- we're doing well -- but we saw an opportunity to add skill and depth.''

In those 59 games for Orlando last season, Sisca earned a plus-minus rating of minus-3. That was third-best on the team among forwards who played at least half the club's games -- former Aces center Ryan Cruthers, who led the team with 23 goals in 71 games, checked in at a team-worst minus-24.

Orlando's 28-37-7 was fourth-worst in a league that last season featured 23 teams.

"What stands out to me is (Sisca's) plus-minus wasn't that bad on a poor team,'' Murray said.

Shuffling the deck

From the Hockey-Is-A-Small-World File: Sisca and Aces left wing Evan Trupp were part of the same trade as rookies in 2011-12 -- Sisca went from Bakersfield to Cincinnati and Trupp went from Cincinnati to Bakersfield.

Sisca will wear No. 22 with the Aces. The previous Ace to wear that number was center Zach Harrison, who the Aces traded to Orlando in the offseason.

Remember, the Aces signed Sisca as a free agent, so Solar Bears still owe the Aces "future considerations'' in the Harrison deal.

The Aces had 23 players on the ice for practice Wednesday morning at Ben Boeke Arena -- 14 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.

Still injured and not skating: Veteran defenseman Sean Curry, who has missed nine games with a lower-body injury; rookie defenseman Zach Davies, who has missed seven games after surgery for a broken right wrist; and veteran goaltender Gerald Coleman, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery.

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

 

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