ANCHORAGE, AK -- Alaska Aces captain Nick Mazzolini registered his third straight three-point game and Gerald Coleman made 16 saves to lift the Alaska Aces into the Kelly Cup Finals in a 4-1 victory over the Bakersfield Condors at Sullivan Arena on Tuesday.
The Aces, winning the series, 4-2, will meet the Cincinnati Cyclones in the Cup Finals beginning Friday, May 30 at Sullivan Arena at 9:15 PM MST.
Turner Elson, Jordan Morrison and John Ramage also pumped in goals and helped the Aces stake claim a rally of three unanswered goals. It was their first series clinching victory at home since the first round of the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Aces came out rolling with momentum, outshooting Bakersfield 5-1 in the first several minutes and 8-5 for the first period. With a two man advantage, Ramage rifled a one-timer from the left circle off Laurent Brossoit’s right arm for a 1-0 Aces lead at 5:35.
At the tail end of the second power play, Elson converted a feed at the goal mouth by Kane Lafranchise, from the left corner, at 7:04 for a 2-0 advantage.
The Aces defence, geared to protecting the advantage, limited Bakersfield to only three shots in the middle frame and extended their lead on Jordan Morrison’s one-timer from the slot with 1:52 left in the period. Alex Belzile whipped a pass from the left corner to Morrison, who hammered the shot past Brossoit’s glove.
Eric Bugdoerfer ended Coleman’s shutout bid and scored the Condors first goal in over 100 minutes (spanning to the second period of Game 4) just 46 seconds into the third period on a rebound at the left post for a power play goal. But Mazzolini converted Zach McKelvie’s feed to the slot, hammering a shot past Brossoit’s glove for a 4-1 lead at 4:03, sending Sullivan Arena into pandemonium.
For the remainder of the game, the Aces cycled their lines and burned the clock by continuously working the puck into the offensive zone. The final blow occurred on a Jordan Knackstedt slashing penalty with 1:34 left in regulation, allowing the Aces to close the game among the delirious crowd with puck possession on a final power play.
Brossoit, whom the Aces pierced for 16 goals in the final four games of the series, made 28 saves in the loss.
NOTES: The Aces scratched Brad Richard, Drew MacKenzie, Brendan Connolly, Peter Sivak and James Martin ... Mazzolini and Elson extended their goal scoring streaks to four straight games … Coleman improved to 6-2 in the postseason … the Aces never trailed in the series for the final three games … Findlay, making his first appearance since Game 3, registered an assist and +1 rating … the Aces improved to 5-2 in Game 6 situations, all at Sullivan Arena.
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