Mike Nesper

On Jan. 31, the Alaska Aces acquired Jordan Morrison and Brett Findlay via free agency after the San Francisco Bulls folded.

Great signing.

Dubbed the "Bulls kids" by their Alaska teammates, Morrison and Findlay combined for five points Friday at Sullivan Arena, including three straight goals that wiped out a two-goal deficit and helped the Aces earn a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones in Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals.

The duo skated on the same line at San Francisco this season, and they live together with their third linemate, Alex Belzile, who came to Alaska from Gwinnett in a Feb. 28 trade for the rights to former Aces netminder Mark Guggenberger.

Their off-ice friendship translates to on-ice chemistry, Findlay said...

Mike Nesper

When South goalkeeper Lucas Newman faces a penalty kick, he looks for clues from the shooter.

Newman picked up on the signs from West Valley to make consecutive saves in a penalty-kick round to propel South to a 1-0 win Thursday in the first round of the boys state soccer tournament at Anchorage Football Stadium.

Tied 2-2 after three rounds of penalty kicks, Newman dove to his left to deny Brayden Deweese.

South's Britton Clifford then buried the go-ahead goal -- which proved to be the match-winner -- in the bottom left corner past Wolfpack keeper Chris Wheat.

Newman sealed the victory when he stopped Quinten Cox with a save identical save to the previous one...

Mike Nesper

Zoe Bailey's heart raced as she prepared to take a penalty kick in double overtime in the opening match of the girls state soccer tournament Thursday at Anchorage Football Stadium.

Good thing she has a teammate like Haleigh Van Allen.

"I told Zoe, 'I believe in you,' " Van Allen said. "I knew she'd bring us home on that one."

Bailey did just that. She deposited a shot past Dimond keeper Katelyn Sweeney to lift Service to a 2-1 win.

The win advances Service to a Friday semifinal match against Soldotna, a 3-0 winner over Lathrop. The other semifinal pits South, which thumped Thunder Mountain 9-0, against Kenai, a 2-0 victor over Wasilla...

Mike Nesper

All six of Anchorage's south-side teams begin their quest for a state soccer title Thursday.

That should come as no surprise to anyone who follows prep soccer in Alaska.

Service, Dimond or South have played for a girls state championship in all but three title matches since soccer debuted as a high school sport in 1982. The last time a south Anchorage team wasn't in the girls finals was 1993.

Service is largely responsible for the south side's reign in girls soccer, thanks to a pair of impressive unbeaten streaks of 77 and 93 matches during the mid-1980s and '90s. The Cougars have played in 22 state title matches and have won 17 of them. They were last season's runner-up...

Mike Nesper

Heading into Game 4 of the ECHL Western Conference finals, the Alaska Aces' power play hadn't scored in 16 attempts going back to the previous series.

Kane Lafranchise broke the drought with a power-play goal that night en route to a 4-1 win. The next day, Nick Mazzolini and John Ramage each recorded power-play tallies, both with a two-man advantage, to help Alaska blank Bakersfield 4-0 and take a 3-2 series lead.

The same trio that sparked the power play kept it going Tuesday at Sullivan Arena as the Aces defeated Bakersfield 4-1 to win the Western Conference finals and advance to the Kelly Cup Finals for the fourth time in the past nine seasons...

Mike Nesper

Karolin Anders' first day of the NCAA Division II national track and field championships -- where she set personal records in all four of her events in the women's heptathlon -- was hard to top.

The UAA sophomore managed to do so Friday with a second-place finish in the heptathlon -- an impressive feat as she was ranked seventh heading into nationals. Anders scored 5,375 points to break her own school record by 327 points and set a new Seawolves mark in the high jump.

"It couldn't have gone any better," Anders said via cellphone. "It was such an amazing two days."...

Mike Nesper

South took the first step toward defending its state baseball title Thursday at Mulcahy Stadium.

The Wolverines’ 10-5 win over Dimond in the opening game of the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs secured the team one of the CIC’s two state berths.

“We knew we had to win one of three,” South coach Cliff Butcher said. “We can exhale a little bit.”

South, which improved to 8-0 in the CIC, can secure the conference’s top spot for the June 5-7 state tournament in Sitka with a win either Friday or Saturday.

In Thursday’s late game, Dalton Chapman threw a one-hitter and racked up 19 strikeouts to help West blank Eagle River 11-0...

Mike Nesper

UAA freshman Jamie Ashcroft qualified in an impressive three events for the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships.

Yet that's less than half the work awaiting Karolin Anders and not even a third of what's facing Cody Thomas when nationals start Thursday in Allendale, Michigan.

Thomas and Anders are the Seawolves' two multi-event athletes. During the outdoor season, that's a decathlon -- a 10-event competition -- for Thomas and a heptathlon -- seven events -- for Anders. In the indoor season, Thomas competes in the heptathlon and Anders in the five-event pentathlon.

Anders' attitude about her events fluctuates.

"I love them all but sometimes I hate them all," she said. "It depends on which one is working."...

Mike Nesper

Scoring chances were sparse in the first two games of the ECHL Western Conference finals -- and both the Alaska Aces and Bakersfield Condors anticipate tight play to continue as the best-of-7 series shifts to California for Games 3-5 next week.

On Saturday at Sullivan Arena, Bakersfield held the Aces to a playoff-low 26 shots, six fewer than the previous low of 32 Alaska fired on net in its 2-1 series-clinching win over Idaho on May 8.

That's just what Condors head coach Troy Mann wanted to see from his club.

"I thought we played an excellent road game," he said.

The Aces were pretty stingy, too, allowing just 22 shots against Bakersfield in a 3-2 overtime loss that evened the series at a game apiece...

Mike Nesper

The first rule about a winning streak is you don't talk about the winning streak.

Just ask East's softball team.

On second thought, don't.

Since losing to West on May 23, 2012, the T-birds have won 51 consecutive games and back-to-back state titles. East's 15-0 victory over Bartlett on Wednesday eclipsed Chugiak's 50-game win streak set over two softball seasons from 2003-04.

East is staying tight-lipped about the subject. Superstition or not, the T-birds aren't testing the sports gods on this one.

"It's something we shouldn't talk about," junior Taria Page said. "It will curse our streak."...

Mike Nesper

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