The Alaska Aces on Saturday night suffered a slight they have not endured in three months -- a second consecutive loss in regulation.
The ECHL leaders lost 4-1 at Stockton, which coupled with Friday's 6-3 setback to the Thunder marked the first time the Aces have lost back-to-back hockey games in regulation since defeats Oct. 29 and Nov. 2.
Stockton goaltender Olivier Roy dropped 29 saves on the Aces, who lost one night after losing their franchise-record streak of 12 consecutive road games without a regulation loss.
Alaska (31-8-5) closes its three-game series with Stockton (20-18-4) with a matinee today at Stockton Arena, where an announced crowd of 7,613 gathered Saturday night.
Stockton jumped to a 1-0 lead on a goal from former league Most Valuable Player Kevin Baker eight minutes into the game. The goal was Baker's third in two nights and his fourth point in that span.
Milan Kytnar's strike 68 seconds into the second period pushed the home team's advantage to 2-0.
Alaska answered on Tyler Ruegsegger's goal eight minutes into the period to cut the margin to 2-1, but Stockton responded in short order. Chris Doyle's goal less than four minutes later restored the Thunder's two-goal cushion at 3-1.
Aces goaltender Adam Courchaine, who is handling the load during his 11-game road trip because No. 1 goalie Gerald Coleman is up in the American Hockey League, regained some of the groove he has ridden nearly all season but lost early on this road trip.
After surrendering six goals in a win at Bakersfield on Wednesday and permitting five goals on Friday, Courchaine stopped 35 of 38 shots Saturday.
The Aces still trailed 3-1 when they went on the power play with less than two minutes left, but Stockton's Nathan Deck scored short-handed into an empty-net to seal things.
Alaska mustered three shots on goal in the third period.
Aces center Nick Mazzolini's eight-game point streak came to a halt.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Aces 0 1 0 -- 1
Stockton 1 2 1 -- 4
First Period -- 1, Stockton, Baker 19 (D'Alvise, Brodie), 7:59. Penalties -- Kissel, Aces (high-sticking), 1:13; Hayes, Stockton (hooking), 10:14; Fulton, Stockton (slashing), 11:52; Hunt, Stockton, major (fighting), 18:24; Olson, Aces, major (fighting), 18:24.
Second Period -- 2, Stockton, Kytnar 6 (Reber, Pederson), 1:08; 3, Aces, Ruegsegger 12 (Harrison, Nunn), 8:09; 4, Stockton, Doyle 10 (Foy, Fulton), 11:28. Penalties -- Olson, Aces (high-sticking), 14:05; Fulton, Stockton (high-sticking), 15:48.
Third Period -- 5, Stockton, Deck 7, 18:32 (sh-en). Penalties -- Brodie, Stockton (interference), 18:20.
Shots on goal -- Aces 14-13-3--30. Stockton 12-13-14--39.
Power-play Opportunities -- Aces 0 of 4. Stockton 0 of 2.
Goalies -- Aces, Courchaine, 14-4-3 (38 shots-35 saves). Stockton, Roy, 9-13-4 (30-29).
A -- 7,613 (9,737). T -- 2:21.
Referee -- T.J. Luxmore. Linesmen -- Steven Berry, Steven Walsh.Blog: Woody on Hockey
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News