2012WesternConferenceFinals

Western Conference Finals Preview

Western Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

#1 Alaska Aces vs. #3 Las Vegas Wranglers
Series Matchup Sheet

The 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs resume on Thursday with Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between Alaska and Las Vegas. Despite Alaska having home-ice advantage in the series, the first two games of the series, as well as Game 7 if necessary, are at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

This marks the fourth postseason series between the two clubs, with Alaska having won two of the previous three meetings. The Aces defeated Las Vegas 4 games to 2 in the 2006 West Division Finals and 4 games to 0 in the 2009 National Conference Finals, while the Wranglers eliminated Alaska 4 games to 1 in the 2008 National Conference Semifinals.

Alaska is appearing in the Conference Finals for the second consecutive year, and for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. The Aces have advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals three times, winning the title in 2006 and 2011, and falling in seven games to South Carolina in 2009.

Las Vegas is making its third appearance in the Conference Finals in the last five seasons. The Wranglers advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2008, where they fell to Cincinnati in six games.

During the 2011-12 regular season, Alaska was 4-3-2 against the Wranglers while Las Vegas went 5-3-1 against the Aces. Dan Kissel, who was named to the All-ECHL Second Team, led Alaska in the season series with seven goals and 10 points, while goaltender Gerald Coleman was 2-0-1 in three appearances with a 1.95 goals-against average and a save percentage of .932. Adam Miller, who also earned a spot on the All-ECHL Second Team, paced Las Vegas in the head-to-head meetings with four goals and seven points. Joe Fallon appeared in seven of the nine meetings between the clubs posting a 4-1-1 record with a 1.47 goals-against average and a save percentage of .946.

Alaska earned a bye in the Western Conference Quarterfinals by virtue of receiving the number one seed in the conference. In the Conference Semifinals, the Aces defeated Stockton 4 games to 1, winning the final three games of the series on the road. Nick Mazzolini led Alaska in the series with six points (3g-3a), while in goal, Coleman was 4-1 with one shutout, a 1.36 goals-against average and a save percentage of .946. The Aces are third in the playoffs with 3.20 goals per game and are leading the way with 1.40 goals-against per game.

Las Vegas has put together a 7-1 record through the first two rounds of the playoffs, defeating Utah 3 games to 0 in the Conference Quarterfinals and eliminating Idaho 4 games to 1 in the Conference Semifinals. Eric Lampe leads the Wranglers in the postseason with 10 points (3g-7a) while Scott Campbell has a team-high four goals. Mitch O’Keefe has started six games, going 5-1 with one shutout, a 1.83 goals-against average and a save percentage of .941 while Joe Fallon is 2-0 in his two appearances with a 0.92 goals-against average and a save percentage of .967.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 26 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas
Game 2 – Friday, April 27 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas
Game 3 – Sunday, April 29 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska
Game 4 – Tuesday, May 1 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska
Game 5 – Wednesday, May 2 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaka (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Friday, May 4 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, May 9 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas (If Necessary)