Andy Taranto was pretty good for the Aces in Game 1

Doyle Woody,

Andy Taranto's rink resume is strong -- in 146 career college games at UAF, he generated 59-61--120 totals.

The pro game is a different beast, of course, but in the Alaska Aces' 5-1 playoff series-opening win over the San Francisco Bulls on Friday night he showed why he can prove a notable addition to the ECHL club he joined last week.

Taranto racked his first pro goal in the third period. He fired four shots. He made a nifty pass to defenseman Corey Syvret in the high slot on a second-period power play -- Syvret rang a shot off the crossbar. And Taranto was strong on the other side of the puck.

Aces coach Rob Murray has Taranto playing right wing on the third line with Zach Harrison, and he gave Taranto at least a couple of third-period shifts with first-line center Nick Mazzolini. Taranto also is playing on a power-play unit -- he scored off an Alexandre Imbeault feed with the man advantage.

Murray said Taranto has gotten better in each of his three games with the club, two to wrap the regular season last week and Friday's playoff opener. That's probably a product of fewer nerves with each game, and better conditioning -- there was a gap between the end of UAF's season and the start of Taranto's tenure with the Aces, so he appears to be getting his legs back, as they say in hockey.

Aces center Bobby Hughes said Taranto's scoring ability is obvious even in practice.

"He's just got the knack for the net,'' Hughes said. "He finds corners.''

Doyle Woody,