STEPHEN SYLVANIE / SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 11:15 p.m.
Having lost the first two games of the opening-round Kelly Cup playoff series in Alaska, the Wranglers looked to force a Game 5 with a win on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
But Alaska showed why it's the top seed in the ECHL Western Conference, riding the series momentum with an abrupt score just 15 seconds into the first period as Aces winger Peter Sivak took a pass on the unguarded side of the Wranglers goal and lobbed the puck into an open net, catching Las Vegas goaltender Travis Fullerton out of position. The goal would set a tone for a lopsided 5-1 win that gives the Aces a 3-0 series lead.
Six minutes after Sivak's goal, Aces captain Nick Mazzolini scored a short-handed goal to give Alaska a 2-0 lead going into the second.
Wranglers forward Shawn Skelly would cut the Alaska lead in half with a power play goal, his third in as many contests, 6 minutes into the second period. Alaska's Sivak would answer with his second goal of the game, a short-handed tally, minutes later in the second. The remainder of the game was essentially an Aces clinic on offensive possession, outshooting the Wranglers 38-18 in the contest.
In the third period, the Aces would get goals from defenseman Drew MacKenzie and later Brett Findlay to cap off the victory.
Game 4 is set for Friday night at the Orleans Arena. Barring a victory by Las Vegas to force a Game 5 on Saturday, Friday's match could be the final Wranglers home game played in the Orleans Arena in their history.