Aces looking good going into homestand

Doyle Woody
Trent Daavettila of Colorado moves the puck as William Wrenn of Alaska protects the net during first-period action Friday evening Nov. 16, 2012 at Sullivan Arena. Erik Hill

They own the ECHL's best record (16-5-0) and its top current winning streak (five games), possess its most efficient penalty-killing crew (90.2 percent) and represent the only club on the 23-team circuit that is perfect in overtime (3-0-0).

So, things are going decent for the Alaska Aces.

"Systems-wise, cohesiveness -- it all seems to be coming together a little bit,'' said Aces coach Rob Murray. "For me, right now, we're playing really well as a team.''

The Aces carry that momentum into an unusual four-game homestand -- visitors here usually play a two-game or three-game series -- against the Utah Grizzlies beginning Wednesday night at Sullivan Arena.

Alaska is coming off a six-game road trip in which it went 5-1-0, falling only in the trip opener, 2-1 at Idaho, and twice winning in OT.

The Aces capped the trip with a 4-3 OT win at Ontario on Saturday night in a game they never led until defenseman Kane Lafranchise ignited a celebration with his goal in extra time. In two of three OT games this season, the Aces never led until Lafranchise scored game winners.

"After two periods, down 3-2, you could have had that defeatist attitude and said, 'That's good, a 4-2 road trip,' '' Murray said. "It was a fantastic win. We grinded it out.''

Veteran center Scott Gomez missed the last two games of the road trip with food poisoning, but Murray expects him to be in the lineup Wednesday night after completing a full practice Tuesday. Questionable, however, is veteran defenseman Sean Curry, who sat out the game in Ontario with an undisclosed injury.

Not only is this four-game homestand against a single opponent unusual, the Aces' schedule in the next two weeks is also curious. After entertaining Utah on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Monday, the Aces hit the road Tuesday for a three-game trip that features one game in Idaho and two in Utah.

That makes for six games against the Grizzlies in a seven-game span, and dating back to Alaska's two-game sweep at Utah on the recent road trip, makes for eight games against the Grizzlies in a 12-game span.

Utah is coming off a two-game home sweep of San Francisco and, dating back to its OT loss to Alaska, is unbeaten in regulation in its last three games (2-0-1).

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Utah Grizzlies



Alaska Aces


WHERE: Sullivan Arena

WHEN: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Monday nights, 7:15