Woody on Hockey

Alaska is hockey heaven -- the Alaska Aces are perennial ECHL contenders, the UAA Seawolves play in the nation's premier college league and NHL star Scott Gomez headlines a contingent of pros. Join the conversation about the Aces and Alaska hockey with Doyle Woody, who has covered the game here at all levels for 29 years.

Contact: dwoody@adn.com

Here's a historically encouraging way of looking at UAA's WCHA series in Grand Forks - 10/25/2012 3:43 pm

Aces: Ambroz released (Plus, Courchaine note) - 10/25/2012 1:26 pm

Aces: Gee, those are some decent linemates Imbeault just got; plus, numbers changes - 10/25/2012 10:45 am

Aces add a defenseman in fourth-year pro Alain Goulet - 10/25/2012 9:59 am

A bunch of Alaska connections play in the Austrian League where Alexandre Imbeault began the season - 10/24/2012 5:41 pm

Man, UAA's Early Schedule Is Odd - 10/24/2012 5:07 pm

Former Aces Center Imbeault Is Now Current Aces Center Imbeault (UPDATED) - 10/24/2012 1:16 pm

North Pole's Copley Is WCHA Rookie Of The Week - 10/23/2012 12:19 pm

Is Scotty's Time In Montreal Done?

Various reports out of Montreal say the Canadiens next month will buy out the remaining two years of center Scott Gomez of Anchorage's mega-contract.

Gomez still has two years and $10 million left on a 7-year, $51.5 million deal he signed with the New York Rangers. The way capgeek.com figures it, the buyout would bring Gomez $6.67 million.

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For What It's Worth, Here's Some Aces And Wranglers History In Elimination Games (Plus, Idaho Seeks Coach)

For what it's worth, with the Alaska Aces facing an elimination game tonight at Sullivan Arena against the Las Vegas Wranglers in Game 5 of the ECHL's Western Conference finals -- Vegas owns a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 -- here's how both clubs have done in their ECHL franchise history is such situations.

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Point Of Playoff Peril: Wranglers 3, Aces 2 (And At The Edge Of Elimination)

The Alaska Aces now stare at the potential end of their ECHL hockey season.

The Las Vegas Wranglers' 3-2 win in Game 4 tonight at Sullivan Arena -- and it was only a one-goal game because Alaska defenseman Chad Anderson scored an extra-attacker goal with five seconds left -- gave the Wranglers a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference finals.

Game 5 is Wednesday night, and the Aces must win to force Game 6 at Sullivan on Friday, and then must win that match to force a Game 7 back in Vegas, where the teams split the first two games of the series.

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Aces Update: Now Howes Is In Lineup Tonight

Yet another lineup change for the Alaska Aces tonight -- winger Scott Howes, who earlier today wasn't scheduled to be in the lineup because of sickness, now is going to play Game 4 against the Las Vegas Wranglers tonight, according to Aces spokesman Josh Bogorad.

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Aces Update: Tonight's Lineup Changes

The Alaska Aces wrapped up their short morning skate a bit ago, and coach Rob Murray will have some lineup changes for tonight's Game 4 against the Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL Western Conference finals at Sullivan Arena.

Up front, rookie winger Chris Bruton will be back in the lineup after missing the last four games with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Scott Howes did not practice (illness) and will not be in the lineup.

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Aces Update

Wandered down to Sullivan Arena, where the Alaska Aces and Las Vegas Wranglers went through pretty light practices in anticipation of Tuesday night's Game 4 -- Las Vegas leads the best-of-7, ECHL Western Conference Finals 2-1 after Sunday night's 3-2 OT win.

Talking to a few folks on both sides, the word "fun'' came up in several conversations.

As nail-biting as this series has been for fans of both clubs, the players are loving how tight the games have been, as well as the high-tempo pace and, Sunday for sure, the quality of play.

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Overtime Agony: Wranglers 3, Aces 2

Overtime can be awesome or agonizing, depending on your loyalties.

Mark it down tonight as the former for the Las Vegas Wranglers and their fans, and the latter for the Alaska Aces and their supporters.

Las Vegas 3, Alaska 2.

And now the Wranglers own a 2-1 edge in the best-of-7 series that continues Tuesday night with Game 4 at Sullivan Arena. Game 5 is Wednesday night at Sullivan, where there was an announced crowd of 4,899 tonight.

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Fort Wayne Seizes A Strong Hold On The Central Hockey League Finals

The Fort Wayne Komets have generated a big move toward winning the Central Hockey League's Presidents' Cup as playoff champions of that circuit.

The Komets today earned a 6-3 win at Wichita, which combined with Saturday night's 5-3 win in the opener of the best-of-7 series, not only gives them a 2-0 lead with the series heading to Fort Wayne, but gives them the home-ice advantage Wichita owned to start the series.

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Aces Update: 2 Lineup Changes Tonight

Just got to the rink and Alaska Aces spokesman Josh Bogorad let us know of two lineup changes for the club in tonight's Game 3 of the ECHL Western Conference semifinals series against the Las Vegas Wranglers.

Rookie winger Tim Hall is in, replacing Zach Harrison.

Also, rookie defenseman Brock Shelgren is in, replacing injured blueliner David Shields (lower-body injury).

That means defenseman Brandon Gentile (upper-body injury) will miss his fourth straight game.

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Alaska Connections Remaining In The AHL's Calder Cup Playoffs

Pretty thin crew of Alaska-connected players still alive in the AHL's Calder Cup playoffs, which have reached the conference semifinals stage.

The Norfolk Admirals (they of the 29-game winning streak earlier), who feature former Alaska Aces winger/enforcer Eric Neilson (no playoff appearances yet), next play the Connecticut Whale, who have three Alaska connections. The Whale include former UAA winger Tommy Grant (0-0--0 and +1 in three playoff games), former UAF goaltender Chad Johnson (yet to play) and former UAA defenseman Lee Baldwin (yet to play).

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Here Are The Alaskans Still Playing In The USHL Playoffs

The USHL playoffs have hit the conference finals stage and four Alaskans are still alive, all getting ready for the Western Conference finals.

The Lincoln Stars, who feature three Alaskans, will play a best-of-5 series against the Waterloo Black Hawks, who have an Alaskan goaltender.

The Stars include defenseman Dax Lauwers of Anchorage (1-0--1, +2 in four playoff games), Colorado College-bound forward Jared Hanson of Palmer (2-1--3, +4 in four games) and UAF-bound forward Matt Friese of Wasilla (0-2--2, +2 in four games).

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Kalamazoo Squares ECHL Eastern Conference Finals At 1-1

The Kalamazoo K-Wings, who like the Alaska Aces are trying to get back to the ECHL's Kelly Cup Finals, rallied tonight to beat Florida 3-2 and square the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece.

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Anchorage's Dubinsky Misses Game 1 Of NHL Eastern Conference Semis With Injury

If you watched today's Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinal series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals and thought to yourself, "Self, where is Brandon Dubinsky of Anchorage?'' he sat out the game with an injury.

The New York Post reports Dubinsky, the Rangers forward, injured his left leg in Game 7 of the opening-round series against Ottawa. No word on when he might be good to go and back in the lineup.

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Game 2: Wranglers 3, Aces 0

Great urgency by the Las Vegas Wranglers tonight.

The Alaska Aces, not so much.

Wranglers 3, Aces 0.

And the ECHL's Western Conference finals are squared 1-1 entering Sunday night's Game 3 in Anchorage.

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Florida Gets The Jump On Kalamazoo In ECHL's Eastern Conference Finals

The Florida Everblades tonight followed the Alaska Aces' example and won Game 1 of their ECHL Eastern Conference finals series wth a victory at Kalamazoo, just like the Aces did at Las Vegas on Thursday night.

Florida used 34 saves from Pat Nagle, a goal and a helper from defenseman Bobby Raymond and a goal from Trevor Bruess to bag a 2-0 win in Michigan.

Game 2 is Saturday.

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Former Aces Bench Boss Thompson Hit With 3-Game AHL Ban; JJ Gets 1-Game Ban

Tough day for former Alaska Aces in the American Hockey League.

Former Aces coach Brent Thompson, now bench boss for AHL Bridgeport Sound, was hit with a three-game suspension for his actions after last Sunday's 4-3 OT loss to Connecticut, which gave the Whale a three-game sweep of the first-round Calder Cup series. The scoresheet reflects a game misconduct for abuse of officials at game's end -- imagine unkind words were directed at an on-ice official.

Because Bridgeport's season is over, Thompson will serve the three-game ban at the start of next season.

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Aces Get The Jump On Wranglers: 2-1 Win In Game 1

In tonight's ECHL Western Conference finals opener in Nevada, the Alaska Aces outshot the Las Vegas Wranglers 17-6 in the first period, so, good start to their 2-1 win.

They got a power-play goal (Ryan Cruthers) for the fourth straight game, making that 0 of 27 futility to bridge the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs a distant memory.

They got the usual drill from Gerald Coleman, 25 saves on 26 shots.

They killed both Wranglers power plays.

They never trailed.

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Anchorage's Bryant Molle Headed To Central Hockey League Championship Series

Defenseman Bryant Molle of Anchorage, who began his pro career with the Alaska Aces, is headed to the Central Hockey League's championship series with the Fort Wayne Komets.

Fort Wayne knocked off Missouri, 6-4, in Game 7 of their semifinal series tonight -- Molle furnished an assist -- and will meet the Wichita Thunder and former Aces winger Matt Robinson in the Finals, which open Saturday night in Wichita.

Molle has delivered three assists in 11 playoff games, with a -1 rating, after going 1-5--6 and +23 in 60 regular-season games.

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Fairbanks Ice Dogs Are Set To Defend Their NAHL Championship

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs tonight finished blowing through two rounds of divisional playoffs to win the North American Hockey League's West Division and become the first of five teams that will qualify for the league's Robertson Cup, currently in possession of said Ice Dogs.

Fairbanks won 3-1 at Wenatchee to eliminate the Wild in the minimum three games, just as they dispatched the Kenai River Brown Bears in three games in the first round.

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Dubinsky Joins Carle In 2nd Round Of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Another Alaskan advanced in the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight -- Brandon Dubinsky of Anchorage set up Dan Girardi's second-period goal, the eventual game-winning strike, to help the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over Ottawa in Game 7 of their opening-round series.

Dubinsky joins Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Carle of Anchorage, whose team advanced by knocking off Pittsburgh in the first round.

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