ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Colorado’s Dustin Butler made a season high 40 saves, enough for his first career shutout to help the Eagles skate by the Alaska Aces (37-17-5, 79 points), 2-0 before 4,121 fans at Sullivan Arena on Thursday night.
Gerald Coleman stopped 25 shots for Alaska and absorbed only his second loss in seven lifetime games against Colorado, who broke an 11-game winning streak by the Aces at Sullivan Arena in the head-to-head series.
Both teams traded a flurry of scoring chances in the first period, keeping both goaltenders busy while the Aces owned the first 11 of 16 shots. Butler’s key save was a stop on a two-on-one between Tyler Mosienko and Corey Syvret, while Coleman kept the game scoreless with a difficult blocker save on Greg Gardner’s re-direction from the slot.
With less than four minutes left, Butler also got his blocker on Jordan Morrison’s shorthanded breakaway attempt.
After Sivak’s near miss from the slot in the second period, Kyle Ostrow was able to outmuscle the Aces defense at the net and pump a rebound home for his 27th goal of the year at 8:02 of the second period for a 1-0 lead.
Alaska outshot Colorado, 17-8 in the third period while looking for the equalizer and Butler was able to turn away another array of quality chances, including a Tommy Mele wrister ticketed for the upper corner that Butler deflected with his stick.
Coleman was pulled for an extra attacker with less than 1:30 to play and the Aces generated pressure, but Riley Nelson’s clearing attempt found Jesse Mychan open for an empty net goal from the left circle with six seconds left.
The two teams return for a rematch tomorrow at Sullivan Arena.