The Alaska Aces’ season is officially on the brink. Following a 2-0 loss to the Idaho Steelheads, coupled with Utah’s 2-1 overtime win over Missouri, the Aces now trail the Grizzlies by three points with two games to play.
The Utah win also eliminated the Mavericks from playoff contention.
It was a crushing outcome at Sullivan Arena as Glacier Blue had its opportunities, but was unable to capitalize — especially in the third period, wasting three power plays.
“We generated enough chances 5-on-5, but what was disappointing was the power in the third period,” Aces head coach Rob Murray said to Aces’ play-by-play man Kurt Haider on the post-game broadcast. “We had our chances. I don’t know if they had more than three chances the whole game. They really didn’t generate much offense. We didn’t either and that’s the bottom line. We can’t seem to score and we have the guys who can score.”
Joe Basaraba buried the chance he got for Idaho in the second period, scoring what would be the game winning goal. The Steelheads added an empty net tally in the final seconds. Both netminders were solid, but Alaska could not solve Idaho’s Brandon Komm who stopped all 29 shots sent his way. Kevin Carr did his part to keep the Aces in it with 21 saves.
The organization has said this will be the team’s final season due to financial issues. While the Aces are mathematically still alive, their playoff chances are minimal. The three point deficit means they need to win twice and hope the Grizzlies drop their final two games.
There are a few seats remaining for Friday night’s game, while Saturday is down to standing room only availability. Unless there’s a massive and speedy turnaround, Saturday night’s game will be the final one of the Aces franchise.