With a quick flick of his wrists Saturday night, Wes Goldie made a standing-room-only crowd of 6,599 inside Sullivan Arena roar in appreciation of minor-league hockey history.
As for the man who authored the moment -- Goldie's 368th career goal in the ECHL tied Rod Taylor's all-time league standard -- he merely raised his stick, briefly, almost half-heartedly.
Wes Goldie scores goals, and his first-period strike stood up as the game winner in a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Eagles in the Aces' regular-season home finale.
Goldie is one of just two players in league history to score 40 or more goals five times, and the only one to do it in five consecutive seasons. He is one of two men -- Taylor is the other -- to rack at least eight 30-goal campaigns, and just one of three men to bag six straight 30-goal seasons.
Goldie's goal, which came on a quick shot from the slot off a Nick Mazzolini feed to furnish a 2-1 lead at 16 minutes, 21 seconds of the first period, was, for him, an unusual one. He fired the shot along the ice and just inside the right post to beat Eagles goaltender Kyle Jones -- Goldie's signature shot is top-shelf, glove-side.
"That was a fluke,'' Goldie said with a laugh.
That Goldie reacted so mildly to tying the record was not a surprise -- the 32-year-old is known for muted celebrations.
"It's just my demeanor,'' Goldie said. "I guess if it was an overtime goal, or a playoff goal, I might get a little worked up.
"But scoring goals is my job. I expect it, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it.''
Former NHLer Brian Swanson, 35, who has been Goldie's center the last two seasons, was not surprised his linemate reacted to history so modestly.
"Typical Golds,'' Swanson said. "One of those things -- let the young guys do the dances. He scores so many goals, it probably gets old celebrating.''
Goldie's goal was his team-leading 33rd and it also furnished the 600th point of his ECHL career, making him just the seventh player in league history to reach that milestone.
And Goldie has scored so many goals that, unofficially, Saturday's marked the 56th game-winning goal of his ECHL career.
The Aces (39-15-9) maintained their small lead atop the league standings. With 87 points, they have a four-point lead over Las Vegas and a five-point lead over Ontario. Gwinnett sits six points back, and Greenville and Elmira are each seven points back. Ontario has 10 games remaining, and all those other contenders have nine -- Alaska's nine games are all on the road, beginning with three at Colorado this week.
Alaska completed a two-game sweep of Colorado after winning 3-1 Friday.
Saturday was a tough night for the Eagles all around. They lost their third straight game, but even worse, they lost league-leading scorer Chad Costello. Costello had to be helped off the ice after he collided right knee-to-right knee with Aces defenseman Chad Anderson as Anderson carried the puck behind his net in the second period.
Alaska pushed hard to get Goldie the record-breaking goal.
The Aces, who also received goals from Kane Lafranchise, Dan Kissel and Zach Harrison, enjoyed two power plays in the last 3:32, and Goldie played almost every second. Coach Rob Murray even used his timeout to give penalty killers Swanson and Mazzolini a rest so they could be fresher to go out on the first power play with Goldie.
On the second power play, the crowd chanted, "Goldie! Goldie! Goldie!''
Goldie's only real chance to break the record late in the game came when defenseman Bryan Miller's shot went wide but ricocheted hard off the end boards and toward Goldie at the bottom of the right circle. But the puck hopped Goldie's stick blade.
"It would have been a lot of fun,'' said Goldie, who fired a team-high four shots on goal. "We have great fan support, and we tend to do things they can't be part of, like last year when we won (the Kelly Cup) on the road. So, it's nice to tie it here, and I would have loved to get (the record) here.''
Still, the Aces' Cowbell Crew of supporters got to see a piece of history.
"Tying the record, that's a big accomplishment,'' Murray said. "Both are going to be huge accomplishments. To have the tying goal here at home -- big crowd, big win -- it's nice.''
Goldie acknowledged the crowd after the game, waving as he came back onto the rink to skate across the ice and toss a T-shirt to the fans.
That's what the three stars of the game do, and, of course, on his record-tying night, Goldie was named first star.
Shuffling the deck
Aces rookie goalie James Reid made 18 saves and stopped 45 of 47 shots in the sweep. He's 3-1-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.
Goldie's 33rd goal, in his 61st game this season, moved him one behind league leader Eric Lampe of Las Vegas, who racked his 34 goals in just 46 games but has long been up in the American Hockey League.
Kissel's goal was his 32nd, third in the league.
The Aces again played without veteran defenseman Steve Ward, who sat out for the second straight game after taking a hard hit in Stockton last Sunday.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Colorado 1 0 0 -- 1
Aces 2 2 0 -- 4
First Period -- 1, Colorado, Slattengren 11 (Schneekloth), 1:44; 2, Aces, Lafranchise 3 (Marsh), 5:48; 3, Aces, Goldie 33 (Mazzolini), 16:21. Penalties -- Mazzolini, Aces (tripping), 6:49; Cey, Colorado (tripping), 12:50; Nunn, Aces (tripping), 18:51.
Second Period -- 4, Aces, Kissel 32 (Langkow, Anderson), 8:10 (pp); 5, Aces, Harrison 6 (Kremyr), 14:05. Penalties -- Burnett, Colorado (cross-checking), 6:13.
Third Period -- None. Penalties -- Burnett, Colorado (slashing), 6:38; Ambroz, Aces, major (fighting), 9:30; Maxwell, Colorado, major (fighting), 9:30; Harrison, Aces (slashing), 14:45; Haddon, Colorado (slashing), 16:28; Ulanski,, Colorado (slashing), 18:35.
Shots on goal -- Colorado 5-7-7--19. Aces 8-15-4--27.
Power-play Opportunities -- Colorado 0 of 3. Aces 1 of 5.
Goalies -- Colorado, Jones, 27-13-4 (18 shots-14 saves); An. Penner, enter 14:05 2nd (9-9). Aces, Reid, 3-1-1 (19-18).
A -- 6,599 (6,399). T -- 2:10.
Referee -- Ryan Murphy. Linesmen -- Scott Sivulich, Steve Glines.Blog: Woody on Hockey
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News