Buoyed by seven consecutive victories that mark the ECHL's longest current winning streak, the Alaska Aces are back on the road, hoping to pick up where they left off on their previous journey.
The Aces (7-1-0), who are coming off a three-game home sweep of the Bakersfield Condors, swept a three-game series in Las Vegas on their only previous road trip this hockey season.
They open their three-game road series against the Idaho Steelheads (3-2-1) in Idaho on Wednesday night. The series continues Friday and concludes Saturday.
Alaska has prospered by virtue of the league's stingiest defense, which has allowed 1.13 goals per game and delivered four shutouts, and its second-most prolific offense, averaging 4.25 goals per game.
Rookie goaltender Laurent Brossoit was named the ECHL's Goaltender of the Week on Monday after notching shutouts in each of his first two starts in the league. Combined with a relief appearance before those starts, he has stopped all 40 shots he has faced.
The Aces lead the league in both shots on goal per game (37.63) and fewest shots allowed per game (18.88). Only once has an opponent managed more than 19 shots in game.
Six players average at least one point per game for the Aces, a group spearheaded by winger Peter Sivak, who has generated 5-13--18 totals to lead the league in assists and scoring. He also boasts the circuit's best plus-minus rating at plus-13.
Idaho includes a couple of Alaska connections. Rookie winger William Rapuzzi of Anchorage is second in team scoring with 1-7--8 totals in six games, has a plus-2 rating and has scored on both of his bids in shootouts, and former UAA winger Tommy Grant has furnished Idaho with 3-3--6 totals and a plus-3 rating in six games.
Shuffling the deck
The Aces' seven-game winning streak ties for the seventh-longest in the club's 11 ECHL seasons.
Sivak's 18 points give him a six-point lead on three players tied for second in the league in points. His 13 assists are three more than any other player. Sivak also leads the league in shots on goal with 36.
Aces rookie winger Andy Taranto and Grant are tied for second in shots at 32.
Aces center Tim Coffman, the ECHL's Rookie of the Month for October, is tied with Rapuzzi for the league lead in assists from rookies with seven. Coffman leads all rookies in plus-minus at plus-10
Aces rookie defenseman Ben Parker leads league blueliners in plus-minus at plus-10. Teammates Dustin Molle and James Martin are tied for third at plus-8.
The Aces head into Idaho carrying a streak of 14 consecutive goals scored. Bakersfield led 3-1 in the second period last Friday, when the Aces reeled off five straight goals for a 6-3 win. They won 5-0 on Saturday and 4-0 on Sunday. Earlier this season in Las Vegas, the Aces scored 10 consecutive goals.
So, they have in eight games twice scored more consecutive goals than their opponents' total goals (9) this season.
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By DOYLE WOODY