LOVELAND, CO – Going into Friday night’s game against Mountain Division foe Utah, the Colorado Eagles’ power play was a mediocre 15th in the ECHL clicking along at a modest 16.5%. However, after going 3-for-15 in three games against Greenville last week, there were signs of improvement.
And improve they did.
After going 4-for-6 versus the Grizzlies with the man advantage on Friday, they’ve jumped all the way up to 7th with a much more respectable 19.8% rate.
The Eagles jumped on the Grizzlies early and never trailed in a game where they won every period. Colorado led 3-1 after one period, and 5-2 after two and never let Utah get any offensive rhythm going while going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill as well. Despite getting outshot 32-29 by Utah, Colorado received stellar goaltending from recent arrival Sam Brittain on loan from the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. The Eagles chased Grizzly starting netminder Kevin Carr who struggled, giving up five goals on 21 shots through two periods. Backup Angus Redmond didn’t fare any better for Utah giving up two goals on eight shots in the 3rd period.
Reigning ECHL Defenseman-of-the-year Matt Register continued his hot play with two assists, giving him 21 points in 19 games, which leads all ECHL defenseman. Colorado also got two goals from forward Michael Joly who now has a league-leading 15 goals in just 17 games this season. Perhaps even more impressive than his 15 goals is that he’s taken just 37 shots on net, giving him an unbelievable 40% shooting percentage.
Colorado got balanced scoring again, getting goals from 6 different players, and now have earned points in 8 straight games. Veteran defenseman Collin Bowman had a big night with 3 points on a goal and two assists. It’s been a season of streaky play for the Eagles thus far. They won their first six straight, then lost six out of seven, and are currently on a 5-0-1 stretch which puts them just 3 points behind the Mountain Division leading Wichita Thunder.
Utah has now lost nine of their last ten games, and have given up 19 goals in their last three contests. They did have a couple of bright spots in a forgettable game, however. Forwards Ryan Walters and Greger Hanson each had two points, and before getting pulled, Carr made a beautiful breakout pass from his crease to find a streaking Michael Pelech who fed it to Walters for a beautiful two-on-none breakaway goal.
The two teams are right back at it Saturday night at the Budweiser Events Center. Puck drop is at 7:05 MT.