Final Regular Season Records:
Colorado Eagles: 41-27-3-1 (86 pts—West Division Champions)
Utah Grizzlies: 39-27-3-3 (84 pts)
Game Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and All Times Local):
Game 1 – Thu., April 14 – Utah at COLORADO 7:05 pm
Game 2 – Sun., April 17 – Utah at COLORADO 7:05 pm
Game 3 – Thu., April 21 – Colorado at UTAH 7:05 pm
Game 4 – Sat., April 23 – Colorado at UTAH 7:05 pm
*Game 5 – Sun., April 24 – Colorado at UTAH 7:05 pm
*Game 6 – Tue., April 26 – Utah at COLORADO 7:05 pm
*Game 7 – Wed., April 27 – Utah at COLORADO 7:05 pm
*= If Necessary
Season Series Recap: The Utah Grizzlies won the 10-game season series over the Colorado Eagles, going 7-3-0 in those games. Three of the ten games were decided by one goal.
How Colorado Wins: The Eagles rise through the standings can be tied to the addition of Clarke Saunders in net just after Christmas. Saunders is 2-0-0 against Utah this season, with a 2.50 goals against average and he will likely be the starter for the Eagles throughout the playoffs. Saunders finished the regular-season with a 14-5-0 record, with a 2.84 goals against average and .897 save percentage.
Offensively, Colorado has weapons all over the ice. On the back end, Adrian Veideman, Collin Bowman and Jake Marto can put the puck in the back of the net with regularity, combining for 41 goals during the regular season. Trent Daavettila has 10 points in 10 games against Utah. Depth scoring will be a huge key for Colorado in this series. If players like Johnny Lazo, Kyle Kraemer and Everett Sheen can chip in points, Colorado has an excellent chance of winning.
How Utah Wins: The Grizzlies are a lot like the Eagles, but a little less physical. Knowing the Eagles were the most penalized team in the ECHL during the regular season, a huge key will be whether Grizzlies players can bait Colorado into taking untimely and extra penalties. In their 10 meetings during the regular season, Utah went 12-for-40 (30% efficiency) on the man-advantage.
Utah also gets an advantage in net, with Mark Owuya and Ryan Faragher manning the crease. The duo went 32-19-2-3 with a 2.49 goals against average and four shutouts during the regular season. Head coach Tim Branham really cannot go wrong starting one over the other, as both can carry the team to a series win.
Offensively, the Grizzlies are more balanced and deeper than the Eagles, and that will need to show through if the Grizzlies are to win the series. They are led by Charles Sarault, who scored 19 goals and notched 43 assists during the regular season. Perhaps the most balanced player in the Grizzlies lineup is second-year pro Alex Krushelnyski, who scored 25 goals and collected 35 assists (60 pts) in 69 games.