By Doyle Woody
Anchorage Daily News
Fresh off another startling comeback, this one culminated by Josh Soares‘ jaw-dropping, game-winning goal, the Alaska Aces are headed to the ECHL’s conference finals for the fourth time in the last five hockey seasons.
The Aces eliminated the host Victoria Salmon Kings 6-4 on Saturday night in Game 5 of the West Division Finals. They raced back from a two-goal, second-period deficit and generated another thrilling, and game-turning, third period at the Save-On-Foods Centre in British Columbia.
Soares capped the rally with an incredible power-play strike that gave the Aces a 5-4 lead with less than three minutes to play.
Chasing a loose puck that trickled out of the Victoria zone, Soares collected it off the wall in neutral ice, circled into the middle of the ice on his forehand and marched through Victoria’s defense, stick-handling and weaving his way to prosperity. He drove all the way to the net and lifted a backhander over the glove of goaltender Julien Ellis.
“That’s got to go down in the archives as one of the top three goals in Aces history,” said veteran defenseman Matt Shasby, in his fourth season with the club. “It was probably the best goal I’ve seen in my professional career.”