A first period of futility seemingly doomed the Alaska Aces on Friday night, when they plunged into a three-goal hole yet made a hockey game of it before falling 4-3 on the road to the Colorado Eagles.
The Aces twice slashed their deficit to a single goal, at 3-2 in second period and 4-3 with less than six minutes to go.
But the Eagles still have the Aces' number, albeit with a small sample size. Colorado has won all three meetings between the ECHL Mountain Division clubs, and all three of those -- the Eagles swept 4-3 and 2-1 in late November -- have been one-goal games at the sold-out Budweiser Events Center.
And so the Aces' four-game winning streak and eight-game point streak (6-0-2) were snuffed, as was their five-game road point streak (3-0-2).
The Aces (24-10-3) surrendered three goals in a span of 2 minutes, 34 seconds, of the first period. Now they know how it feels to be on the sorry side of that equation -- nine times this season, the Aces have scored three or more goals in a span of fewer than seven minutes.
Former Aces winger Alex Hudson kick-started the onslaught with a power-play strike from point-blank range. Trent Daavettila's shot ricocheted in off Aces defenseman Drew MacKenzie, who was in the penalty box for Hudson's goal. And Luke Fulghum scored off the rush to earn the Eagles (21-10-7) a 3-0 cushion.
Still, the Aces rallied. Ross Ring-Jarvi cut the margin to 3-1 early in the second period with a one-timer off Nick Mazzolini's pass, and Brendan Connolly pulled Alaska to within 3-2 with his power-play shot from atop the right circle.
But Eagles defenseman Dylan Hood scored off a face-off play four minutes after Connolly's goal -- Hudson assisted -- to restore Colorado's advantage to 4-2.
Ring-Jarvi's goal off a Peter Sivak assist with 5:26 to go drew Alaska within a goal at 4-3. But the Aces could not score on a late power play.
Alaska goaltender Olivier Roy (26 saves) had his six-game winning streak snapped.
The Aces didn't exactly torment Eagles masked man Marc Cheverie. Their 16 shots on goal -- which included just eight in the first 40 minutes -- marked a season low.
The teams close a two-game series Saturday night.
After that, Alaska and Colorado have five more encounters in the regular season, two in Anchorage and three in Colorado.
Shuffling the deck
Sivak owns 4-7--11 totals in his six-game point streak. Mazzolini has points in five straight, with 1-4--5 totals in that span.
Ring-Jarvi's first two-goal game for the Aces gives the winger four goals in the last three games and 7-10--17 totals in the last 18 games.
The Aces signed forward Phillip Ischi of Kenai to aid their depleted roster. He played in the game, going minus-1.
Aces veteran defenseman Sean Curry, who did not play Friday and has missed 35 consecutive games with a lower-body injury, made the road trip.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
First Period -- 1, Colorado, Hudson 6 (Gardner, Hood), 12:06 (pp); 2, Colorado, Daavettila 13 (Ostrow, Young), 13:07; 3, Colorado, Fulghum 17 (Gardner, Nixon), 14:40. Penalties -- MacKenzie, Aces (hooking), 11:56.
Second Period -- 4, Aces, Ring-Jarvi 7 (Mazzolini), 3:16; 5, Aces, Connolly 8 (MacKenzie, Richard), 12:32 (pp); 6, Colorado, Hood (Hudson), 16:31. Penalties -- Mele, Aces (boarding), 7:03; Hood, Colorado (tripping), 12:14; Ostrow, Colorado (roughing), 18:43.
Third Period -- 7, Aces, Ring-Jarvi 8 (Sivak), 14:34. Penalties -- Nemec, Colorado (boarding), 16:35.
Shots on goal -- Aces 3-5-8--16. Colorado 14-9-7--30.
Power-play Opportunities -- Aces 1 of 3. Colorado 1 of 2.
Goalies -- Aces, Roy, 13-7-0 (30 shots-26 saves). Colorado, Cheverie, 14-4-6 (16-13).
A -- 5,289 (5,289). T -- 2:17.
Referee -- Peter Tarnaris. Linesmen -- Chris Wilson, Seth Mukai.