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Aces edge Idaho in Game 1, 2-1

Friday, April 15th
Aces edge Idaho in Game 1, 2-1

(Anchorage, AK) - Curtis Fraser fought through a sea of bodies in front of the Idaho net, poking home a power-play goal at 11:07 of the third period as the Alaska Aces defeated the Idaho Steelheads, 2-1, in Game 1 of their best-of-seven ECHL Western Conference semifinal series. The game was played in front of 5,097 enthusiastic fans at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. The Aces, playing their first playoff game due to a first-round playoff bye, came out with a lot of energy in the first period but Idaho rookie netminder Jerry Kuhn came up with a couple of key saves to keep the game scoreless through most of the first period. With 1:20 left to go in the first, ECHL MVP Wes Goldie got loose at the top of the far circle, took a feed from Brian Swanson and Scott Howes, and snapped a shot past Kuhn to give Alaska a 1-0 lead after one period. Neither side scored in the second. The best opportunity came on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush for the Aces, but Kuhn stonewalled Goldie from close range to keep it a 1-0 game. Kuhn made a couple more highlight-reel saves in the third to keep it a one-goal game, including a glove save on an Alaska blast from the slot that seemed ticketed for the back of the net. Kuhn snared it, though, to keep the Steelheads within a goal. Idaho drew even at 8:51 of the third. Kael Mouillierat fed Mark Derlago up the near side of the ice. Derlago patiently waited for a shooting lane to open up and then snapped a wicked shot from just inside the near circle over Gerald Coleman's shoulder and into the top corner of the net to tie the game at one. Chad Nehring also picked up an assist on Derlago's second of the playoffs. Moments later, Idaho took a penalty to put Alaska on the power play and the Aces cashed in. The puck got into the crease and, as Kuhn fought to cover the puck, Fraser was able to poke it past the rookie to make it 2-1. The Aces appeared to have extended the lead when a Goldie shot trickled through Kuhn's legs, but Kuhn alertly reached back and pounced on the puck before it could cross the goal line. Idaho could not get the equalizer, though, as the Aces held the Steelheads off down the stretch to secure the win, taking a one game to none lead in the best-of-seven playoff series. Kuhn stopped 31 of 33 shots for Idaho while Coleman stopped 13 of 14 for Alaska. Idaho was 0-2 on the power play, while Alaska was 1-4. Game 2 is Saturday night at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Game time is 9:15 (Mtn) and the Steelheads and Qwest Arena will once again host a viewing party in the SportZone on the third floor of Qwest Arena. There is no cover charge and there will be a limited food menu available for those wishing to get something to eat. ROSTER NOTE: Prior to the game, the Steelheads announced that defenseman Guillaume Monast was recalled from Idaho by the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. Idaho (ECHL) and Texas (AHL) are the primary development affiliates of the NHL's Dallas Stars. Alaska (1) vs. Idaho (5) Game #1 ? Alaska 2, Idaho 1 Game #2 ? at Alaska (Saturday April 16) ? 9:15 Game #3 ? at Idaho (Wednesday April 20) ? 7:10 Game #4 ? at Idaho (Friday April 22) ? 7:10 Game #5 ? at Idaho (Saturday April 23) ? 7:10* Game #6 ? at Alaska (Tuesday April 26) ? 9:15* Game #7 ? at Alaska (Wednesday April 27) ? 9:15* * - If Necessary Tickets for Games 3 & 4 of the semifinal series against Alaska in Boise are on sale at the Qwest Arena box office. Tickets for a potential Game 5 will go on sale once it is determined the game will be necessary. COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Mark Derlago AQUAFINA THREE STARS 1) Wes Goldie (AK) 2) Gerald Coleman (AK) 3) Jerry Kuhn (ID)

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