If the Alaska Aces are to have a puncher's chance of extending their ECHL Western Conference finals series against the Las Vegas Wranglers, who lead 3-1 in the best-of-7 heading into tonight's Game 5 at Sullivan Arena, it figures they will almost certainly need some scoring punch from their top players.
That formula has Las Vegas poised to make its second trip to the Kelly Cup Finals (the Wranglers lost in six games to Cincinnati in 2008).
Through four games of the series, the Aces who finished as the club's top 10 point scorers in the regular season and have played at least half the games in this series have accounted for just five goals and nine assists. Zero goals in the series for Wes Goldie, Nick Mazzolini, Garry Nunn, Bryan Miller and Brian Swanson.
Meanwhile, the Wranglers' top 10 have bagged 10 goals and 26 points. Three goals from Scott Campbell and two each from Eric Lampe and Judd Blackwater.
Scoring first would help the defending Kelly Cup-champion Aces greatly, of course -- the team scoring first has won all four games in the series. And, clearly, the Aces need to generate momentum right off the hop tonight to buoy their own spirits and get the crowd into the game. Otherwise, the club's 82nd game of the season may be its last.