The Aces received six power-play opportunities in the contest, all coming in the first two periods, but the Colorado penalty kill was strong, backstopped by the performance of netminder Kent Simpson, who improved to 2-0 this season after turning aside all 26 shots he faced for the shutout.
“We just made hard plays all night and we played like it was a 1-0 game and that’s how you have to play to win. It was a solid team game,” Simpson said. “You take (the penalty kills) as they come. Our kill has been really good, so we have to keep that going for sure.”
LOVELAND, CO. – Kent Simpson stopped 26 shots and Jesse Mychan scored the game-winning goal in the second period as the Colorado Eagles downed the Alaska Aces 2-0 Friday night at the Budweiser Events Center. It was the Aces first game of the season, Colorado’s third.
The game took on a physical tone from the start but offered no goals. Both goaltenders, Simpson of the Eagles and Aces netminder Kevin Carr were good and the first period shots favored Alaska 9-7.
Most of the second period was tight hockey. The Aces continued to look for their scoring dynamic, working hard, getting chances but getting little to show for it.
With Alaska’s Garet Hunt off on a high-sticking penalty, Mychan popped the puck past Carr at 18:11, assisted by Casey Pierre-Zabotel and Matt Register. The period ended 1-0 Eagles and an 18-17 edge in shots.
In the third, the Aces pressed for the equalizer, but a long-distance empty-net goal by Register with 1:35 to go dashed the Glacier Blue hopes.
Simpson finished with 26 saves for the shutout…Carr 22 stops for Alaska.
Shots ended up 26-24 in favor of Alaska.
The Aces fell to 0-1. The Eagles are now 3-0.
The Aces and Eagles will play again Saturday at 5:10pm Alaska time in Loveland.