ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Five different players scored for the Alaska Aces in a convincing 5-1 win over the San Francisco Bulls in Game One of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series from Sullivan Arena on Friday night. The Aces lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.
Both teams started very fast and physical in a high-tempo opening period. It was a sign of things to come in a game that saw the teams combined for 70 penalty minutes. Alaska scored first with a Garry Nunn strike from the right circle 8:48 into the game. It set off a string of five unanswered goals for Alaska in the game. The Aces outshot the Bulls 18-7 in period.
Alaska blew the game open in the second period with three goals. Bobby Hughes started the scoring on a highlight reel goal at 2:35. Hughes picked the pocket of Bulls defenseman Antoine Corbin and deked past Thomas Heemskerk from his knees after he was hooked down to the ice. Hughes followed his goal by setting up an Alex Imbeault goal
on the power play 1:49 later, giving the Aces a 3-0 lead. Zach Harrison then scored his first career playoff goal at 15:24 to make it 4-0 Alaska, and chase Heemskerk from the net. Rookie Taylor Nelson relived Heemskerk and finished the game.
Despite the switch in netminders, Alaska continued their assault on San Francisco when Andy Taranto scored his first pro goal on a power play at 11:13. Gerald Coleman had his shutout snapped with less than six minutes left while Alaska was on another man advantage. The Aces turned the puck over at their own blue line and San Francisco’s Kris Belan scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 14:20.
Gerald Coleman (1-0) earned the win, making 20 saves on 21 shots. Thomas Heemskerk (0-1) suffered the defeat, making 24 saves on 28 shots, while Nelson stopped 11 of 12 in relief. The Aces went 2-7 on the power play, while the Bulls went 0-4. The Aces outshot the Bulls 40-21 in the game.
Game 2 is Saturday night at Sullivan Arena, before the series shifts to San Francisco next week.