Wandered down to the rink this morning to catch the game-day skates of the Alaska Aces and Cincinnati Cyclones. Both clubs were there. Apparently, there will indeed be a Game 1 of the ECHL's Kelly Cup Finals at Sullivan Arena on Friday night.
OK, now that the news flash is out of the way...
Aces coach Rob Murray said he will go with the same lineup in Game 1 that he employed in Tuesday's Western Conference-clinching 4-1 win over Bakersfield, with the exception that Olivier Roy will start in goal instead of Gerald Coleman. That maintains the rotation Murray has used throughout the playoffs and -- keen hockey analysis here -- has worked splendidly.
To remind you, here are the lines and pairings:
First-line winger Brendan Connolly, who missed Game 6 of the Bako series with an upper-body injury, was back on the ice this morning, but will not be in the lineup tonight. "Getting closer,'' Murray said.
Also, first-line winger Peter Sivak, who has missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury, continues to skate. "Getting closer,'' Murray said.
Both Sivak and Connolly have a legitimate shot at being cleared to return to game action. It is helpful to constantly remember -- The Blog has to remind himself -- that the Aces have reached this point without Sivak, the league's second-leading scorer in the regular season and a guy who racked five goals in five games to start the playoffs. Having him back would be a boon -- you're welcome for that dose of wisdom, glad to help.
Defenseman Drew MacKenzie remains out with an upper-body injury.
Couple of extra skaters on the ice today with the Aces. Zach Murray (12) and Brendan Murray (7) will have a pretty cool "How I Started My Summer Vacation'' story. They were playing keep-away with the old man at the end of the short skate, and, like guys who are scratched from the lineup, stayed out well after practice broke to work on their games.
The Cyclones rolled into town Thursday afternoon, so they had a decent travel schedule, especially considering how difficult it is to book flights on short notice at the point on the calendar.
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com