By The Bakersfield Californian
When it comes to NHL talent in the ECHL, the Alaska Aces are at the head of the pack.
Stacked with four NHL fowards, all Anchorage natives, the Aces are flush with talent, even with one of those four — Brandon Dubinsky — out with a broken hand.
Joey Crabb, Nate Thompson and Scott Gomez are the other NHLers on the roster. All told, the four have combined to produce 36 percent of all Aces goal this season and 32 percent of all points.
The Aces make their only stop of the year in Bakersfield on Friday night, giving fans a chance to see how much of an impact a bevy of NHLer’s can make on a squad at this level.
The impact has been greater that the overall stats in the last three games (al;; wins) as Thompson and Crabb alone have had a hand (either goals or assists) on nine of the 16 goals scored in those three games. That’s a whopping 56 percent.
The latest victim of the Aces was Stockton on Wednesday night as a 6-2 Alaska drubbing snapped Stockton’s seven-game winning streak on home ice.
Crabb (144 NHL games) has eight goals and 13 assists in 18 games and leads the Aces with 21 points.
Thompson (265 NHL games) has six goals and 12 assists in 19 games and Dubinsky had eight goals and four assists in 12 games before the injury.
With Dubinsky out, the Aces signed Scott Gomez, who had been practicing with the team. Gomez has two goals and three assists in five games.
Friday night will be the second chance for longtime Condors fans to see Gomez. He played for the Aces during the 2004-05 lockout and had his season come to a crashing end in Game 4 of a first-round playoff game at Rabobank Arena. Bakersfield’s Ashlee Langdone checked Gomez hard, sending him hip first into the opening of the bench door at the exact moment the trainer opened it for a line change. Gomez suffered a broken pelvis.
The ECHL handed Langdone an eight-game suspension for the hit but in essence, it was a one-game suspension. Langdone announced his retirement after the series.
The Condors lost the series in the deciding Game 5 in Alaska, where they were Public Enemy No. 1.