The Alaska Aces defeated the Fresno Falcons 3-2 Monday night in Game 7 in double overtime at Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena to earn a spot in the Kelly Cup finals.
The Aces, the National Conference champion, will face the Gwinnett Gladiators, the American Conference champion, in the finals. The series starts with games at the Sullivan Arena on Wednesday and Thursday, both at 7:15 p.m.
Chris Minard scored the game winner for the Aces 1:07 into the second overtime before a frenzied 6,331 at the Sullivan Arena. Minard was assisted by Mike Scott and Keith McCambridge on the play.
In games the Aces lost to the Falcons in the series, they had trouble holding an early lead. The game took that pattern Monday.
Alaska grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Peter Metcalf, assisted by Olivier Filion and Barrett Heisten. In the second period, Minard made it 2-0 with help from Ryan Gaucher and Alex Leavitt.
Fresno wasted no time battling back in the third period, as Chris Heid, on assists from Luke Curtin and Dustin Van Ballegooie, scored 2:45 into the final frame.
The Falcons then tied the game with 4:31 left to play on a power-play goal. Kelsey Muench had the goal, assisted by Curtin and Van Ballegooie.
Alaska’s Chris Beckford-Tseu, who finished with 37 saves, was then able to keep a clean slate until the game winner. Jamie Holden had 41 saves for the Falcons.
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