GREEN BAY, Wis. — Drew Elser's team-leading third goal of the season proved to be the game-winner late Saturday as the Central Illinois Flying Aces remained perfect with a 3-2 win over the Green Bay Gamblers at Resch Center.
Elser scored the last of Central Illinois' three unanswered tallies in the second period, giving him a goal in each of the Aces' three wins — the best start in the club's four-year history. The Aces sit alone atop the Eastern Conference and are tied with Lincoln for the league's best record.
Rookie Tyler Madden and Griffin Lunn also scored for Central Illinois while rookie goalie Zach Stejskal made 19 saves in a matchup with Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Maksim Zhukov, who stopped 24 shots for Green Bay.
Elser, who did not register a point in three Bloomington games last season, saw his night end early when he got into the team's first fight of the season, dropping the gloves against Michael Underwood with 6½ minutes to play.
The Aces fell behind 1-0 for the third straight time. After a scoreless first, Green Bay (2-1-1) took the lead on Rory Herrman's score off a Jesse Jacques assist less than two minutes into the second.
Madden's second goal of the year knotted things up six minutes later, with Charlie Raith picking up an assist. Less than a minute later, Lunn converted a Calen Kiefiuk feed to put Central Illinois ahead for good.
Elser bagged his goal, off Max Andreev's team-leading fourth assist, with 2½ minutes left in the frame. The Gamblers trimmed their margin of defeat when Noah Prokop scored an unassisted goal in the game's final second.
The Aces continue their season-opening six-game road trip Friday at Madison before visiting Cedar Rapids on Saturday.