Aces Thumped by Thunder, 5-3

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by Jake Ryle

STOCKTON, California--What started out as such a promising Thursday evening for the Aces quickly went awry.

Alaska tallied only 2:28 into Game 3 of the ECHL Western Conference semifinals. That goal came off the stick of Zach Harrison. That lone goal would be the only offensive production Harrison could muster in the contest.

Depsite the early goal, the Stockton Thunder quickly jumped out to a 3-1 lead over the ensuing 7 minutes.

Stockton Left-winger Matt Bergland netted his fourth and fifth goals of the ECHL playoffs--the latter of which was enough for Aces Head Coach Rob Murray to pull goaltender Mark Guggenberger from the pipes.

The Aces would tally another goal before the end of the first period from a pretty familiar name. Bobby Hughes recorded his ECHL playoffs leading ninth goal (assist to Alexandre Imbeault and Andy Taranto) to help cut the deficit in half.

Gerald Coleman, the Aces goaltender for the second and third periods, allowed two goals in the final 40 minutes. Coleman finished the night blocking 20 of 22 shots.

Former UAF standout, Andy Taranto, has missed the past five games due to a lower-body injury; however, his performance on Thursday gave evidence to a full recovery. Taranto scored a goal late in the third, and added an assist earlier in the game, to finish the night with 2 points.

The Aces drop game three, 5-3.

Alaska played Stockton 10 times in the regular season--which resulted in two consecutive losses for the Aces to open the season, but was followed by 8 straight wins.

The Thunder have now won two straight from the Aces--forcing Alaska to win at least one of the next two games on the road to keep the series alive.