KALAMAZOO, Michigan — The Alaska Aces capped off the most prolific postseason in ECHL history on Saturday night, winning their second Kelly Cup Title in franchise history with a 5-3 win over the Kalamazoo Wings in Game 5 of the championship series. Alaska claims the best-of-seven series four games to one and finishes the playoffs with 12 wins and just one defeat.
In Game 5, the Aces made a habit out of quick responses to K-Wings goals. After falling behind 1-0 at 2:58 of the second period, Steve Ward scored his first goal of the postseason only 32 seconds later to even things up. The Aces took a 2-1 lead later in the second on Chris Langkow's first of two goals on the night. Langkow, a rookie, finishes the postseason with eight goals in his final eight games.
The two teams weren't done trading scores. Following a K-Wings goal at 15:51 of the second to make it 2-2, Chad Anderson buried his second of the playoffs just one minute and seven seconds before intermission to give Alaska a 3-2 lead entering the third.
Langkow's second of the game made it 4-2 Aces with 5:32 remaining in regulation, but Kalamazoo once again pushed hard. Trent Daavettila made the Aces work for it with a goal at 16:01 of the third. However, Curtis Fraser ended the K-Wings hopes with a strike just 28 seconds later for the final margin.
Scott Howes, who finished the playoffs with 7 goals and 12 assists, was named Kelly Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player. Howes managed at least a point in his first 10 postseason games before getting shut out in the clincher.
Alaska team captain Scott Burt was the first person to lift the Kelly Cup. Burt, who won two ECHL championships with Idaho in 2004 and 2007, is now the first person to win three Kelly Cups in a playing role.
The 2011 Aces, who also won the Kelly Cup title in 2006, become the fourth team to win the ECHL's regular season and postseason titles in the same year. Alaska collected a league high 47 regular season wins and earned a first round bye in the playoffs to set up their historic run.