Ryan Cruthers scored both Aces goals, including the game-winner on a deflection with 4:06 remaining in regulation to lift Alaska to a 2-1 victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers in game one of the ECHL's Western Conference Finals. Cruthers, acquired late in the season for forward Ethan Cox, now has four goals in six playoff games.
Alaska controled play in a scoreless first period, outshooting Las Vegas, 17-6. Cruthers opened the scoring on a power play with a tremendous slap shot at 9:07 of the second period. The Wranglers answered quickly, getting the tying goal from Scott Campbell with 2:31 to go in the frame. The teams stayed tied until Cruthers tipped in Tyson Marsh's shot late in the third.
Gerald Coleman stopped everything else thrown his way, and ended up with 25 saves on 26 shots.
The victory is huge for Alaska in the unusual 2-4-1 home ice format, in which the Aces will play games three through six at Sullivan Arena in the series goes that far. Game two is set for Friday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.