Stewart’s 45 saves lead Jackals to 3-1 win
Elmira leads series 1-0
By Joe Mink
An old hockey saying goes that a hot goaltender can carry a team through the playoffs.
Brian Stewart looked like that kind of goalie Friday night, leading the Elmira Jackals to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Everblades in Game 1 of the ECHL Kelly Cup Eastern Conference semifinals at First Arena.
Stewart made 45 saves, and more than a few were difficult. Twice he stopped Florida’s high-scoring forward Scott Pitt on breakaways.
Mike Radja, Artem Demkov and Jean Bourbeau each scored a goal for Elmira, which was outshot 46-19.
The Everblades averaged four goals and nearly 38 shots in its three-game, first-round sweep of the Greenville Road Warriors.
Kalamazoo outlasts Stingrays, 6-4
K-Wings lead series 1-0
By Pam Shebest
Nick Sirota and Elgin Reid each scored twice to lead the Kalamazoo Wings to a 6-4 win against the South Carolina Stingrays and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven ECHL Eastern Conference semifinals.
Reid unleashed two blasts into the net from the blue line in a 14-second span midway through the third period for a 6-2 Kalamazoo lead.
“I was doing the same things I was doing all game,” Reid said. “I had some good chances early in the game that I didn’t convert on. I missed the net on a couple. They weren’t the prettiest, but sometimes the hockey gods even things out for you. It worked out well.”
His first goal turned out to be the game-winner and his second, off a Stingray in front, chased goalie Rob Madore (2-1-0) for former Unviersity of Michigan goalie Billy Sauer at 11:50 of the third period.
Alaska rallies for 2-1 win
Aces lead series 1-0
By Doyle Woody
Anchorage Daily News
On their march to the Kelly Cup last season, the Alaska Aces won all six of their playoff games at Sullivan Arena. This regular season, they fashioned the ECHL’s best home-ice record. And, historically, they are always a difficult bunch to beat on the Olympic-sized rink they call home, where they seem to get a lift from their raucous, cowbell-ringing supporters.
For the Aces, Sullivan is home-ice hockey heaven, and the definition of home-ice advantage.
Friday night, they added another chapter to their legacy of stirring comebacks at Sullivan, striking back from a one-goal, third-period deficit to beat the Stockton Thunder, 2-1, in the opener of a Western Conference semifinal series.