The result on the scoreboard did not matter to the Alaska Aces.
The result in the training room did.
The Aces lost on both fronts Friday night.
The Ontario Reign beat the Aces 2-1 in overtime at sold-out Citizen's Business Bank Arena in California, but the Aces were more disturbed by the loss of checking-line left winger and penalty killer Jordan Kremyr, who suffered a broken wrist and is out indefinitely just one week before the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoffs open.
Kremyr suffered the injury, which coach Rob Murray confirmed, in the club's penultimate regular-season hockey game when he was boarded by Ontario's Brady Calla midway through the third period.
Tough season for Kremyr, who of late has raised his game and with center Zach Harrison and right wing Alex Hudson, furnished the Aces with a sturdy and productive third line. Prior to that, the second-year pro had struggled for a long stretch after returning from a 24-game absence with a concussion in the first half of the season.
The Aces did bolster their roster earlier Friday with the addition of former UAF winger Andy Taranto, who finished his Nanooks career with 59 goals and led them this season with 16 goals and 30 points in 37 games on the way to earning All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association second-team honors.
Still, Kremyr and Taranto don't fit the same role. Kremyr is a grinding winger and particularly adept at killing penalties. Taranto is a scoring winger.
The loss of Kremyr will require Murray to juggle his lines. Of all the Aces' wingers, Chris Clackson probably best suits a checking-line role because he plays a physical game and has enough skill to make plays.
The Aces (48-15-8) played with an altered lineup Friday because the game was of little importance -- the Aces already had locked up the Brabham Cup as regular-season champions, and the home-ice advantage that affords the winner throughout the Kelly Cup playoffs.
That's why Murray left leading scorer Nick Mazzolini home to rest for the postseason and kept winger Alexandre Imbeault in Anchorage to get treatment for his ailing back. Murray also made veteran defenseman Sean Curry and winger Garry Nunn scratches Friday to give them a break.
Winger Spencer Bennett gave the Aces a 1-0 lead with his power-play rebound of a Bobby Hughes shot just 90 seconds into the game.
Ontario (46-18-7) forged a 1-1 tie deep into the second period on D.J. King's goal. The former Ace -- he played a handful of games for them in 2004-05 before he ascended to the NHL -- used his skate to deflect a teammates shot.
The game was the fourth in seven meetings between the teams this season to extend past regulation, and Reign defenseman ended it nearly four minutes into the five-minute OT when he scored from the slot to delight an announced crowd of 9,616.
Shuffling the deck
Saturday night's Aces game at Ontario closes the 72-game regular season.
The overtime loss gives the Aces 50 road points, one shy of matching the club record set by the 2005-06 Kelly Cup-winning team.
With 104 points overall, the Aces are one point shy of matching the second-highest point total in the franchise's 10-season ECHL history. The 2006-07 team generated 105 points, second to the 113 points by the 2005-06 club.
The Western Conference playoff series are set for opening-round, best-of-7 series (seedings in parentheses): (1) Alaska vs. (8) San Francisco; (2) Ontario vs. (7) Utah; (3) Idaho vs. (6) Colorado; and (4) Stockton vs. (5) Las Vegas.
Toledo veteran forward Randy Rowe won the ECHL's Sportsmanship Award in a vote of league coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media -- the award honors the player who combines sportsmanship with ability. Rowe owns 14-16--30 totals in 61 games, with just 19 penalty minutes. Aces center Nick Mazzolini finished fourth in the voting -- he owns 36-35--71 totals, and just 66 penalty minutes, in 68 games.
Gwinnett veteran forward Andy Brandt won the league's Community Service Award, voted on by the league office, for organizing player visits to a hospital, serving as a youth hockey coordinator, organizing the team's Movember movement for men's cancer awareness and helping his club minimize water and energy waste. Brandt owns 17-19--36 totals in 71 games.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
Aces 1 0 0 0 -- 1
Ontario 0 1 0 1 -- 2
First Period -- 1, Aces, Bennett 8 (Hughes, Hall), 1:30 (pp). Penalties -- Springer, Ontario (holding the stick), :25; Trupp, Aces (tripping), 6:58; Harrison, Aces (high-sticking), 13:12; Harrison, Aces (hooking), 18:31; Kraemer, Ontario (holding), 19:08.
Second Period -- 2, Ontario, King 5 (Brock Sheahan), 14:10. Penalties -- Brock Sheahan, Ontario (hooking), 9:00; Kremyr, Aces (tripping), 11:52; Clune, Ontario (boarding), 14:34.
Third Period -- None. Penalties -- Calla, Ontario (boarding), 8:57; Crum, Aces (roughing), 8:57; King, Ontario (roughing), 8:57; Clackson, Aces (roughing), 11:14; Kraemer, Ontario (slashing), 11:44; Estrada, Ontario (roughing), 15:06.
Overtime -- 3, Ontario, Register 4 (Lamoureux, Ebert), 3:49. Penalties -- None.
Shots on goal -- Aces 4-5-8-2--19. Ontario 4-7-5-2--18.
Power-play Opportunities -- Aces 1 of 7. Ontario 0 of 5.
Goalies -- Aces, Coleman, 23-6-3 (18 shots-16 saves). Ontario, Condon, 3-1-0 (19-18).
A -- 9,616 (9,616).
Referee -- J.M. McNulty. Linesmen -- Steven Walsh, Michel Voyer.
By DOYLE WOODY