At long last, the Alaska Aces' goal drought is over. And now Aces goaltender Olivier Roy is forcing opponents to endure their own futility on the goal-scoring front.
The Aces generated three third-period goals Saturday night to claim a 3-0 ECHL win at Utah, where Roy delivered 24 saves to pocket his second straight shutout. Roy bageled the Grizzlies 1-0 in a shootout on Friday, stopping 26 shots in regulation and overtime, and all four Utah bids in the shootout.
When Aces forward Mathew Sisca opened the scoring 5 minutes, 36 seconds into the third period at the Maverik Center, his strike snapped the Aces' goal drought at 210 minutes, 38 seconds -- that's the equivalent of three and a half regulation hockey games. Sisca's goal came on Alaska's 99th shot on goal since its previous goal.
Roy's shutout streak, meanwhile, stands at 148:06 -- the equivalent of nearly two and half games -- as the Aces (13-6-0) head to Idaho for the last three games of an eight-game, three-week road journey.
Defenseman Dustin Molle added an insurance goal with about four minutes remaining Saturday and captain Nick Mazzolini sealed the win with a empty-net goal.
Though the Aces' goal drought stretched past 200 minutes, their dry spell still wasn't in the neighborhood of the all-time ECHL record for goal-scoring futility.
The Baton Rouge Kingfish in March 2003 went a league-record 320:09 between goals. That's the equivalent of five regulation games and one period, and the Kingfish were fed four consecutive bagels in that span to set another league record. After scoring a goal on March 8 that year, Baton Rouge did not beat another goaltender until March 25. Not surprisingly, they finished last in the league that season and scored the fewest goals on the circuit.
Utah goalie Ben Meisner stopped 33 of 35 shots Saturday. He got the start when Igor Bobkov, who stopped all 55 Aces shots he faced in the first two games of the series, was summoned to Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
Though the Aces finally broke their maddeningly frustrating goal drought, they continued to struggle mightily on the power play. They went 0 for 4 and have failed to score on 19 consecutive power plays.
Still, they have won two straight games, and on Saturday they got leading scorer Peter Sivak back from AHL Abbotsford. Of course, they also lost winger Brendan Connolly, who was recalled to the Heat.
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Aces 0 0 3 -- 3
Utah 0 0 0 -- 0
First Period -- None. Penalties -- Pelech, Utah (cross-checking), 14:52; Richard, Aces (holding), 16:06.
Second Period -- None. Penalties -- Richard, Aces (high-sticking), 4:14; Eddy, Aces (holding), 6:44; Mele, Aces (hooking), 9:53; Galiardi, Utah (interference), 15:28; Hogg, Utah (goaltender interference), 18:12.
Third Period -- 1, Aces, Sisca 3 (Trupp, Molle), 5:36; 2, Aces, Molle 2 (Ring-Jarvi, Sisca), 15:51; 3, Aces, Mazzolini 6 (Sivak, Martin), 18:19 (en). Penalties -- Aubin, Utah (interference), 7:10; Cohen, Aces (cross-checking), 9:39; Cohen, Aces (cross-checking), 16:06.
Shots on goal -- Aces 14-12-10--36. Utah 10-6-8--24.
Power-play Opportunities -- Aces 0 of 4. Utah 0 of 6.
Goalies -- Aces, Roy, 3-4-0 (24 shots-24 saves). Utah, Meisner, 2-4-0 (35-33).
A -- 3,504 (10,200). T -- 2:21.
Referee -- Nic Leduc. Linesmen -- James McKenna, Kollin Kleinendorst.
By DOYLE WOODY