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Here's the Deal Blog 2/13/17

Here's the Deal Blog 2/13/17

Feb 13th, 2017

The Deal

February 13, 2017

Record: 25-15-7

By Matt Nevala

Alaska Aces correspondent

WHAT HAPPENED?

2/8 – vs. Utah (W 4-2, GWG: Tim Wallace, attendance: 2,257)

2/9 – vs. Utah (L 2-1, GWG: Taylor Richart, attendance: 2,244)

2/10 – vs. Utah (SOL 4-3, GWG: Mathieu Aubin, attendance: 3,622)

WHAT’S NEXT?

2/17 – vs. Colorado, 7:15 p.m. AKST

2/18 – vs. Colorado, 7:15 p.m. AKST

2/19 – vs. Colorado, 3:05 p.m. AKST

2/23 – @ Elmira, 3:05 p.m. AKST

2/25 – @ Manchester, 2 p.m. AKST

2/26 – @ Manchester, 11 a.m. AKST

SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Sometimes in those highly-charged moments at the end of a on-ice altercation, scrap or fight, Garet Hunt plays to the Sullivan Arena crowd. The Alaska Aces captain pumps his fists, maybe waves his arms in hopes the fans will make more noise as Hunt heads off to the penalty box.

In a way, Hunt unleashes his inner-professional wrestler.

“All the fights I’ve been in, I’ve always told my teammates the scene is never over until I get in the box,” said Hunt, who led the ECHL entering Sunday with 47 minor penalty and ranked second with 194 penalty minutes. “You do what you can to keep the adrenaline going and really feed off the crowd.

“That’s when I know I’m doing my job.”

The past week saw the Aces play three consecutive weeknight games against the Utah Grizzlies in a schedule tweak to make way for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and its brand of “sports entertainment” to return to Anchorage for the first time in more than three years. Nearly 5,000 fans, the Aces included, packed the Sullivan on Saturday night for the wrestling show.

“A night like that, away from hockey for just a while, gives the team a good chance to get to know one another and become even better friends,” Hunt said. “Yes, we’re together all the time with all the travel we do. But it’s not like the full 22 of us meet for dinner on the road on a real regular basis.

“The WWE show makes for a nice break, something different. It’s nice to have it now when we’re right in this playoff push.”

Saturday with no hockey game to play is somewhat unusual for the Aces.

“When you really notice the difference is when you go out for dinner on that night and there are actually people in the restaurant,” Hunt said. “Why’s it so busy? Oh yeah, it’s a weekend night.”

Hunt said he was a wrestling fan as a kid and named “Stone Cold” Steve Austin his favorite performer.

“He was the man,” Hunt said. “I didn’t follow wrestling on a regular basis, but enough to occasionally have sleep overs with my buddies that included entrance music and putting on matches, pretty fun stuff.”

Saturday’s WWE show was Aces forward Stephen Perfetto’s first to see in person. He grew up a fan of the high-flying Rey Mysterio.

“Watching the show first hand, a much different experience,” Perfetto said. “But for us and our schedule any days off are good days off. We have some huge games ahead of us and to get away from the rink for a night is always a good thing.”

In wrestling parlance, a “promo” is when a performer gives a speech or interview either backstage or in the ring meant to rile up the crowd and move a storyline forward. Imagine if they put a microphone in Hunt’s hands in the heat of the moment.

“Honestly, I don’t even know what I’d say,” Hunt said.

Perfetto had some ideas.

“I don’t think anything said would be PG,” he said.

###

PERFETTO CONTINUES TO PERFORM

Last season, Perfetto’s first full one as a professional, he scored 15 goals and 48 points in 72 games with the Aces. This season, he’s fifth in league scoring with 24-35—59 totals in 41 games.

“I’ve just enjoyed more confidence and learned to listen to my body,” Perfetto said. “You figure out what works best for you, and the more games you play, the more things slow down.”

### 

INSIDE THE GAME

By ECHL rule (84.4), the home team is given the choice to shoot first or second in a shootout.

“Eligible players from each team shall participate in the shootout and they shall proceed in such order as the Coach selects. All players are eligible to participate in the shootout unless they have been assessed a misconduct, game misconduct or match penalty. When a goalkeeper has been assessed a misconduct, the player designated to serve the misconduct penalty becomes ineligible for the shootout. If the misconduct is assessed to the goalkeeper during the course of the shootout, the player designated to serve the misconduct must be player who has yet to shoot and thus becomes ineligible to shoot.

 

“Each team will be given three shots, unless the outcome is determined earlier in the shootout. After each team has taken three shots, if the score remains tied, the shootout will proceed to a "sudden death" format. No player may shoot twice until everyone who is eligible has shot. If, however, because of injury or penalty, one team has fewer players eligible for the shootout than its opponent, both teams may select from among the players who have already shot. This procedure would continue until the team with fewer players has again used all eligible Shooters.”

### 

PARTING SHOTS

Heading into Sunday’s ECHL play, Alaska’s 47 games played were the fewest in the Mountain Division. … The Aces’ .606 winning percentage is the fifth best in the Western Conference. … The Aces are 14-7-3 on home ice. … Despite being recently injured, forward Peter Sivak continues to lead the league with 32 goals scored in 42 games and his 59 points rank fourth in league scoring. He’s tied for second with seven game-winning goals, second in shots on goal (205) and tied for first with four short-handed assists. … Defenseman Marc-Andre Levesque is tied for first among blue liners with two shootout goals.

###

Matt Nevala is a former Anchorage Daily News sports reporter who covered the Aces for several West Coast Hockey League and ECHL seasons. He’s winner of multiple Alaska Press Club awards and was named recipient of the 2005-06 ECHL Outstanding Media Award.