They call Boise the City of Trees.
Word to the Alaska Aces: Timmmm-berrrr!
The Aces' third trip to the Idaho capital went about as lousy as their two previous visits. The Idaho Steelheads pounded the Aces 6-2, which makes the Steelheads three for three against the ECHL leaders at CenturyLink Arena this season.
Alaska (30-10-1) has lost consecutive games for the first time in more than a month after absorbing a defeat that matched its most lopsided this season. The Aces twice previously lost by four goals this season, once 4-0 in Idaho, where the Steelheads also own a 2-1 win over the Aces.
The Aces dressed a patchwork lineup that featured three newcomers -- forwards Shawn Skelly and Samson Mahbod, and defenseman Mike Baran. But Idaho's lineup featured a band of irregulars too as ECHL teams try to supplement their depleted lineups in the wake of the end of the NHL lockout, the ripple effect of which has decimated lineups throughout North American pro leagues.
Aces goaltender Gerald Coleman surrendered five goals and got the hook for the first time this season, giving way to Mark Guggenberger about seven minutes into the second period with Idaho leading 5-2. Idaho's Josh Robinson stopped 36 shots.
Even with the newcomers, the Aces were still one skater short of the maximum 16. That's because winger Chris Clackson was serving the second game of a league-imposed, two-game suspension for a cross-checking major penalty he received a week ago.
Idaho (24-9-5) jumped to a 2-0 lead before a sellout crowd of 5,010 on first-period strikes from Tyler Gron and Brett Robinson. Aces defenseman Sean Curry cut the margin to 2-1 before intermission.
Steelheads Matt Case and Austin Fyten scored inside the first three minutes of the second period to push the home team's cushion to 4-1. And although Alexandre Imbeault soon scored for the Aces, David de Kastrozza answered quickly to chase Coleman.
The Aces welcomed the return of winger Tommy Mele, who was back after missing 19 games following thumb surgery. Also back in the lineup was center Bobby Hughes -- he assisted on Imbeault's goal -- after missing a game with a lower-body injury.
Baran assisted on Imbeault's goal too, which marked his first ECHL point.
The Aces play the Steelheads again Saturday night before closing their road trip with a Monday matinee in Las Vegas.
Alaska gets its shot at Idaho on home ice later this season when it entertains the Steelheads in a three-game series at Sullivan Arena.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com or call him at 257-4335.
Aces 1 1 0 -- 2
Idaho 2 3 1 -- 6
First Period -- 1, Idaho, Gron 1 (Watters, Carrick), 12:01; 2, Idaho, B. Robinson 1, 12:51; 3, Aces, Curry 4 (Hughes), 13:18. Penalties -- B. Robinson, Idaho (tripping), 4:31; Molle, Aces (tripping), 9:09; Mahbod, Aces (interference), 19:31.
Second Period -- 4, Idaho, Case 4 (de Kastrozza, Foster), :30 (pp); 5, Idaho, Fyten 10 (Isaacs), 2:41; 6, Aces, Imbeault 10 (Baran, Kremyr), 4:10; 7, Idaho, de Kastrozza 11 (Toews, B. Robinson), 7:07. Penalties -- Foster, Idaho (delay of game), 11:37; Curry, Aces (cross-checking), 17:35.
Third Period -- 8, Idaho, Gron 2 (Fyten, Case), 112:36 (pp). Penalties -- Reddick, Idaho (high-sticking), 3:36; Foster, Idaho (tripping), 12:07; Hughes, Aces (hooking), 12:26..
Shots on goal -- Aces 12-8-16--38. Idaho 12-7-4--23.
Power-play Opportunities -- Aces 0 of 4. Idaho 2 of 5.
Goalies -- Aces, Coleman, (14-4-0) (17 shots-12 saves), Guggenberger, enter 7:18 2nd period (6-5). Idaho, J. Robinson, (14-2-1) (38-36).
A -- 5,010 (5,006). T -- 2:22.
Referee -- J.M. McNulty. Linesmen -- Scott DeBaugh, Todd Owen.
Woody on Hockey
By DOYLE WOODY