Didn't get this nugget into the final-edition game story of the Alaska Aces' Kelly Cup Finals-opening 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones on Friday night. Lotta stuff to write on deadline so didn't get to it with deadline leaving making for a quick turnaround, or possibly The Blog is just an idiot -- always a safe bet to lean toward the latter.
In any event, Aces starting goaltender Olivier Roy left the game midway through the second period, shortly after surrendering the wraparound goal that furnished the Cyclones a 3-1 lead. He had clearly injured himself -- and The Blog is 99-percent certain Roy suffered an injury to his left leg, more clearly defined in hockey parlance as his "lower body'' -- about 30 seconds before the goal and thus could not push across his crease with enough force to quickly get up against the post to stop Logan Shaw, who was fast on the wraparound.
All of which, we were kindly reminded by Aces broadcaster Mike Benton, marked the second straight Finals game Roy has left with an injury. When Roy was with the Stockton Thunder last season (and Benton was the team's broadcaster), he had to leave Game 4 against the eventual champion Reading Royals (they won in five games) with an injury. Roy left that game trailing 1-0 after just 10:25, the same time we should note, that Reading's Nikita Kashirsky was penalized for goaltender interference. Stockton coach Matt Thomas, the current UAA coach, was at the Aces-Cyclones Game 1 and said Roy suffered a concussion that night in Stockton.
Man, tough. Roy's last two Finals games, two injuries.
(In a hockey-is-a-small-world aside, yes, that is the same Nikita Kashirsky who was with the South Carolina Stingrays when they beat the Aces in seven games to win the 2009 Cup).
Anyhow, Gerald Coleman, who backstopped the Aces to the 2011 Cup, came in when Roy left the game and stopped all 13 shots he faced. His team scored four unanswered goals, so he got the win. He's merely 7-2 with a 1.28 goals-against average that tops the circuit and a .942 save percentage. For kicks, note that Coleman in the 2011 playoffs went 11-1, 1.73, .938. All those numbers are stupid.
Coleman easily takes offense to dudes crashing his crease -- he's always said it remains one of his dream goals in hockey to be in a fight -- and no wonder he and teammates got a little defensive when the Cyclones went hard to the net in the waning seconds of the second period.
Face it: With Roy hurt -- a leg injury ain't gonna heal overnight, and certainly not for a goaltender -- Coleman will have to carry the load the rest of the way for the Aces. Good thing coach Rob Murray has gone with a strict rotation of Coleman and Roy alternating games throughout the playoffs. Coleman thus is relatively rested -- hey, bench boss looks extra brainy now, huh?
(Oh, by the way, readers of the early-edition game story for the dead-trees paper did get a sentence or two about Roy's Finals injury last season -- as The Blog's boss noted, sweet action for readers in Chickaloon. Yes, surely they are living the dream).
We should also note that even though Coleman went more than eight minutes after replacing Roy before he was required to make a save, he actually made something of a save on the bench early in the second period. Aces defenseman Sean Curry tried to shoot the puck off the boards in front of the Aces bench, the puck got deflected and tumbled into the Aces bench, where Coleman casually gloved it.
"Maybe that warmed me up,'' Coleman mused.
And, remember, it's not like Roy's injury forced the Aces to go with a clear back-up goalie. They have two No. 1 goalies.
"It's very comforting, I guess you could say,'' said Aces winger Brett Findlay.
Other stuff we didn't get to in the game story included what each team thought of the other since it was their first real meeting -- look, no one's counting the exhibition games they played in October, at least no one who know what they are talking about.
Findlay on the Cyclones: "They're big, they can skate and they're skilled. It's definitely going to be a fast series.''
Cyclones coach Ben Simon said the Aces are a team that will make you suffer for your mistakes and likewise noted that the pace should remain terrific. Cincinnati clearly took a period to get its legs going after 13 hours of travel on Thursday, and the Cyclones clearly can get around the ice lickety-split, just like the Aces.
"It's two teams that can skate,'' Simon said. (Yes, I just typed Simon said. Hey, look, it's late here at home in Airport Heights and The Blog is hearing voices in the condo, and it sounds like something in the fridge is whispering: "Come drink me.''
Simon noted his goaltender, Rob Madore (37 saves) was excellent, and he'll only get agreement here. Said Simon: "They could have had seven or eight goals, and Rob stood tall for us.''
Also of note: Aces winger Turner Elson, who had an empty-net, power-play goal in the last minute, fired six shots on goal (and hit the crossbar once) to match the six shots of teammate Curry (one assist). Barry Almeida (one goal, one helper) led the Cyclones with five shots on goal.
That's about it.
See ya back here Saturday.