LOVELAND, CO – Eagles forward Alex Belzile tied the game with a goal late in the third period, while defenseman Jake Marto nabbed the game-winning goal in overtime as Colorado claimed its 13th consecutive victory with a 5-4 overtime win against Utah on Wednesday. Clarke Saunders collected the win in net, stopping 31 of Utah’s 35 shots on goal in the winning effort.
Utah grabbed an early edge on a 3-on-2 rush that culminated with forward Erik Higby launching a shot from the right circle that would beat Saunders and give Utah the 1-0 lead at the 3:58 mark of the first period.
Colorado would strike back 48 seconds later when defenseman Michael Sdao tracked down a rebound on top of the crease and fed it past Utah goaltender Ryan Faragher to knot the game at 1-1. The Eagles would lay claim to their first lead of the game when defenseman Sam Jardine stepped into a one-timer from the top of the left circle, lighting the lamp for his first goal of the season and giving Colorado the 2-1 edge at the 5:45 mark of the opening frame.
The Eagles would extend that lead later in the first when forward Matt Garbowsky sliced behind the net of Faragher and wrapped the puck into the net to give Colorado the 3-1 advantage with 8:52 left in the first period. The goal was Garbowsky’s 30th of the season and extended his point streak to 13 straight contests with at least one point.
The Grizzlies would claw their way back in the second, as forward Ralph Cuddemi barreled down the right wing off an Eagles turnover and beat Saunders to cut the Eagles lead to 3-2 at the 10:28 mark of the middle frame.
Utah would even the score at 3-3 when another Colorado turnover led to a shorthanded rush down the ice, allowing forward Erik Bradford to slip the puck over the goal line with less than one second remaining in the period.
With the score still knotted at 3-3 heading into the third period, Cuddemi would break the deadlock with a power-play goal from the left circle at the 10:47 mark of the final stanza to give Utah the 4-3 lead.
Colorado would stage a dramatic surge down the stretch and the hard work would pay off when Belzile deflected a centering pass through the legs of Faragher, bringing the score back even at 4-4 with just 2:20 remaining in regulation.
As the contest shifted to a sudden-death overtime period, Colorado would find itself on a 2-on-1 rush that would lead to the game winner from Marto from the right wing, giving the Eagles the 5-4 victory just 55 seconds into the extra session.
The Eagles continue their eight-game home stand when they take on the Utah Grizzlies on Friday at 7:05 pm MT at the Budweiser Events Center.