ECHL Preview: Idaho at Alaska


Two of the top three teams in the ECHL Western Conference face off tonight as the first-place Alaska Aces host the third-place Idaho Steelheads in a 7:15 p.m. AKT matchup.

Both teams have clinched a playoff spot and are currently separated by 13 points heading into tonight’s game. Idaho has scored 30 more goals, while Alaska has allowed 29 fewer goals this season. The Aces (46-12-2-4) are on a seven-game winning streak heading into tonight’s game, having won nine of their last ten games. The Steelheads are coming off a recent loss but are 6-2-0-2 in their last ten, going 39-17-1-6 on the season.

Forward Nick Mazzolini leads the Aces with 34 goals, 31 assists and 65 points in 62 games this season, averaging just over a point per game. He has 10 power play goals on the season and three shorthanded tallies. Right winger Garry Nunn has 46 points (17-29) on the season, including six powerplay goals, and Alexandre Imbeault has 44 points in 56 games, including 42 points with Alaska.

Kane Lafranchise leads Aces defensemen with four goals and 26 assists for 30 points in 45 games.

Rookie forward Austin Smith leads the Steelheads with 24 goals, 17 assists and 41 points in 30 games this season. He’s averaged 1.37 points per game and leads the team across the board. Forward David de Kastrozza has 38 points (19-19), while Rylan Galiardi has 31 points in 51 games. Rookie defensemen Jeremie Blain leads Idaho blueliners with seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points in 44 games.

Idaho is coming off a 2-0 loss to Gwinnett on March 9, while Alaska is coming off a 6-2 win over San Francisco that same night.

Tonight’s game is the first of three consecutive meetings between the Aces and Steelheads.