LOVELAND, CO – In front of another packed house at the raucous Budweiser Event Center, the Colorado Eagles dished out hardware in the form of Championship rings then dished out another offensive beat-down against the road-weary Norfolk Admirals.
Pumping in 6 goals for the second consecutive night, Colorado improved to a Mountain Division-leading 4-0-0, in a 6-4 victory in which they were outshot (39-28), but not outplayed. The Eagles have scored first in all four games so far this season, and are getting balanced scoring from the entire lineup. Nine different players scored goals in the two games against Norfolk.
While the offensive fireworks are fun to watch for the fans, Eagles’ head coach Aaron Schneekloth recognized the need to be better in the defensive zone.
“An entertaining game for sure, but that’s an area where we’ve got to make some strides, not opening the game up, being a little bit more responsible on the defensive side of things, and how we manage the puck in the neutral zone, especially against a team that thrives on transition. Obviously though, to have that offensive output for the second game in a row is nice to see.”
Schneekloth praised the play of goaltender Joe Cannata as the Eagles were outshot for the second consecutive night.
“You saw last night they shoot the puck from all angles. For the most part (Cannata) saw most of those shots and played really well. But he was also put in some positions where he shouldn’t have been put in. We gave up 7 or 8 scoring chances in the 2nd period alone and that’s probably 6 too many.”
Colorado opened the scoring midway through the first period on a blast from the point by defenseman Matt Register who cashed one in off the far post. He was also credited with the final goal of the game, an empty-netter when Norfolk couldn’t control a pass back to the point, and the puck made its way all the way down the ice into the empty cage.
The second period proved to be a wide-open stanza in which each team found the back of the net three times. Colorado never trailed in either of the two weekend games, winning 6-3 on Friday night. The hot start and points in the standings are something to build on said Schneekloth, but with so many new faces (only six returning players from the Kelly Cup Championship roster), there is chemistry still to be built.
“The more we are on the ice together, the more we are in the locker room together, the chemistry will come with the lines. It’s going to continue to grow. We started camp with 10 skaters and slowly progressed to where we have a full lineup.”
Norfolk cut the lead to one again in the third, on a penalty shot tally by Angelo Miceli. He was awarded the penalty shot after a pileup occurred in Cannata’s crease and an Eagles player covered the puck with his hand in the blue painted area.
The Eagles’ six returning players are netminder Lukas Hafner, defensemen Jake Marto, Teigan Zahn and the aforementioned Register. Also returning are forwards Ryan Harrison and injured captain Matt Garbowsky.
Norfolk finished up a 5-game Mountain Division road trip 2-3-0 to start their season.
Colorado welcomes the Worcester Railers to the BEC this Wednesday, Oct. 25. Puck drop is 7:05 pm MDT.
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