The ECHL-leading Alaska Aces have won all five of their meetings with the Colorado Eagles this hockey season, but that dominance comes with a caveat: Those matches were all at Sullivan Arena, where the Aces have fashioned the best home-ice record on the circuit.
Now the Aces (39-15-9) get a chance to see how they do against Colorado (32-23-6) in a hostile rink.
The Aces on Wednesday open a three-game series at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo., where they are guaranteed to face not only the Eagles but a partisan crowd of 5,289. The Eagles have sold out every home game in their existence in that building.
Alaska plays its last nine regular-season games on the road, where it has been the definition of mediocre -- 10-10-7.
And the Aces need every point they can muster -- they are aiming for their second straight Brabham Cup as the league's regular-season champions, which would earn them a first-round bye in the Kelly Cup playoffs.
Alaska leads Las Vegas and Gwinnett by four points in the standings, and still leads Ontario by five points after the Reign fell 3-2 to visiting Idaho on Tuesday night. Alaska, Las Vegas and Ontario each have nine games remaining, and Gwinnett has eight left.
"We've been kind of hit or miss on the road, and these are huge games,'' said Aces winger Wes Goldie.
Goldie's next goal will be huge as well -- it will make him the most prolific goal scorer in ECHL history.
In Saturday's 4-1 win over Colorado, Goldie scored the 368th goal of his ECHL career, tying him with Rod Taylor for first all-time.
Alaska enters the series unbeaten in regulation in its last three games (2-0-1) and 1-1-1 in its last three road games.
The Aces will return home for a few days after the series before departing again for a six-game road swing to close the season. On that last trip, they play at Ontario four times and at Las Vegas once.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
ALASKA Aces 39-15-9 at Colorado Eagles 32-23-6
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By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News