Gian Baldrica made his first career start in goal a successful
one as the Eagles defeated the Lubbock Cotton Kings 7-2 at another
sold-out Budweiser Events Center Wednesday night.
The Eagles continued their red-hot home winning streak,
extending it to six games and pushing their overall record to a
Although the Cotton Kings could only muster 18 shots on goal,
Baldrica made key saves at key times, allowing the Eagles to
capitalize on odd-man rushes.
“I felt good,” Baldrica said. “I have good players in front of
me and I felt really confident.”
Colorado made Baldrica’s first start a rather easy one, with six
different players scoring for the Eagles.
“He looked cool, calm and collected,” said Eagles head coach
Eagles right winger Greg Pankewicz added two goals and an assist
and now leads the team in goals with 12. He is first in the league
in scoring with 26 points and his linemate, left winger Ryan
Tobler, is second with 25.
Eagles center Brad Patterson scored his first goal of the season
and added an assist on one of Pankewicz’s goals.
Coach Stewart praised his efforts after the game saying, “Patty
really has been working hard and he finally got rewarded
This was the fourth home game in a row the Eagles have scored
six or more goals and despite playing together for only a few
weeks, the top line of Pankewicz, Tobler and Riley Nelson continues
to be the best line in the CHL. Nelson has been especially strong
as of late, scoring six goals in his last three games.
“They continue to tear up the ice,” said Eagles color
commentator Tori Holt. “I think they are the two best players in
the CHL right now and have been almost the entire season.”
This top line has been such a threat to opposing teams that the
Eagles have been able to play all four lines consistently, which
has given them a chance to develop key third and fourth line
One of these players is Latvian Karlis Zirnis. At 5 feet 11
inches and 185 pounds, the speedy forward has been showing not only
his smooth offensive talent but also his responsibility on the
defensive end of the ice.
“Zirnis’ speed was really obvious during training camp,” Stewart
said. “We need speed and he exemplifies good speed in all three
The Eagles are now 10-4-1 and they continue a six-game home
stand on Friday against the Indianapolis Ice. The puck drops at
7:05 p.m. and the Eagles will be looking for their sixth straight