The Alaska Aces defeated the Gwinnett Gladiators 4-3 on Thursday in Georgia to win the best-of-7 Kelly Cup Finals in five games.
It is the first professional title for the Aces organization and also the first professional title for the state of Alaska since 1980.
The victory also completed a stellar season for the Aces. The team had 113 points in the regular season, the second-most in ECHL history. Alaska capped that off by becoming the second team in ECHL history to win the regular season and postseason titles.
The Aces had been shaky on defense in losing 6-1 on Wednesday night, and Gwinnett continued to light the lamp regularly in the first period on Thursday.
Just 2:51 into the game, the Gladiators grabbed the lead on a power-play goal. Alaska tied the game midway through the period on a short-handed goal by Mike Scott, assisted by Peter Metcalf.
However, with three minutes left in the first period Gwinnett had a 3-1 lead thanks to a pair of power-play goals.
Alaska quickly erased the deficit, scoring two goals before the end of the first period. Olivier Filion scored on assists by Scott and Cam Keith, and Keith scored on assists by Barrett Heisten and Filion.
After making just 11 saves on 14 shots in the first period, Alaska goalie Matt Underhill ended the game with 43 saves on 40 shots. The Aces put 35 shot on goal.
Scott scored the game winner on a power play midway through the second period and the Aces clamped down for the win, assuring that captain Keith McCambridge would go out a winner in his final professional game.
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