Mission Accomplished. The Alaska Aces completed a two-game sweep against the Ontario Reign in a 5-2 victory Saturday at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Military Appreciation Night.
The Aces dominated the Reign in the first as Ontario was outshot, 9-1, despite going on the power-play twice. Alaska made them with two goals in the period, one of which came shorthanded
With a man down Alaska forward Brian Swanson burned Shawn Collymore with a deke and walked in all alone on Reign netminder Kellen Briggs. Swanson made a quick move to his forehand then slid the puck past Briggs to put the Aces up 1-0.
The Aces continued to apply pressure to the Reign during the period as they netted their second tally just minutes later.
Aces forward Chris Langkow picked up the loose puck behind Ontario’s net and found a cutting Zach Harrison. Harrison one-timed Langkow’s pass far side to beat Briggs and pop in his first goal of the season.
After the Aces killed off a two-man advantage, the Reign finally got on the board in the second when defenseman Luke Beaverson drove the puck wide down the left wing boards and fired a shot on net. Aces goalie Adam Courchaine made the first save but Beaverson banged home the rebound, to cut the lead in half.
The goal brought the 7,700 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena to their feet. With momentum on their side, the Reign rallied back and eventually tied the game up late on the power-play.
On the man advantage, Reign defenseman Matt Delahey tried to center a pass from behind Alaska’s net. The puck hit off an Alaskan defenders shin guard and found the open net to tie the game up at 2-2.
Just five minutes into the third, Alaska took back whatever momentum Ontario built in the second, popping in two quick goals and silencing the crowd.
The Aces first goal of the period came when forward Garry Nunn and defenseman Alex Dzielski came down on a two-on-one against Reign defenseman Jordan Hill. Hill tried to lie down and take away the pass but Nunn found Dzielski’s stick and he buried it in the open net to take the lead back 3-2.
Just minutes after the goal, The Reign surrendered another two-on-one as Jared Stewart, picked up the puck in the neutral zone and came down with Ethan Cox. Stewart saucer passed the puck to Cox who snapped it top shelf glove side to go up 4-2.
The Reign tried to mount a comeback late in the third period on a power-play. Head coach Karl Taylor decided to pull his goalie to give his team a 6-on-4 advantage. However, Swanson picked the puck up in his own end and shot it down into the open net to score his second of the game and secure the victory.
Briggs made 27 saves in a losing effort. Courchaine stopped 23 to earn himself the win.
With the loss, the Reign now fall to 2-6-0-1 and continue to ride a five game losing streak. The Aces improve to 7-2 and now hold sole position on top of the Western Conference.
The Aces will return home after a five game road trip to battle the Reign in a three-game set Friday November 12th through Sunday November 14th at Sullivan Arena.