Dec 042003
 
Authors: Justin Goldman

Crashing the net, taking a perfect feed from defenseman Scott

Swanson and redirecting the puck past a sprawling goaltender,

Colorado Eagles forward Ryan Tobler scored the game-winning goal in

the Eagles’ 4-3 overtime victory over the New Mexico Scorpions

Wednesday night.

In front of another packed house at the Budweiser Events Center,

Tobler’s redirection with 10 seconds left in overtime slipped past

Scorpions’ goaltender Danny Lorenz to provide the winning margin.

The goal completed Tobler’s hat trick and boosted the Eagles’

record to a Northwest Division-leading 14-5-1.

“He’s absolutely on fire,” said Eagles coach Chris Stewart on

Tobler. “He drives to the net so hard and always makes something

happen.”

Stewart also credited Swanson for setting up the play.

“Swanson saw the opportunity to make the final rush a 4-on-3, so

he took it,” Stewart said. “I am glad he did because I knew Tobler

was going to cash in.”

The real story of the game, however, was Lorenz. The New Mexico

goalie was stellar for the entire game, making miraculous saves on

every Eagles player. He amassed 54 saves and was named as one of

three stars of the game.

“If not for Lorenz, the score is easily 8 or 9 to 3,” said

Eagles forward Karlis Zirnis.

“He’s a former NHL goaltender, and it showed tonight,” Stewart

said. “He was absolutely amazing all night.”

The New Mexico defense also provided the team’s offense as Shaun

Peet scored early in the first period on a shot from the blue line

that found its way over the glove of Eagles’ goaltender Gian

Baldrica.

Baldrica, making his second appearance of the season, responded

well to an early goal, a fierce Scorpions forecheck and a

pressure-filled overtime. He finished with 24 saves to stay

unbeaten on the season.

Eagles penalties started to plague them in the second as

Scorpions’ defenseman Jeff Alcombrack scored on New Mexico’s fourth

power play to stretch the lead 2-0.

Down for the second straight game, the Eagles quickly cut the

deficit in half as center Riley Nelson scored his 14th goal on a

sharp-angled shot that rang off the post and slipped in behind a

surprised Lorenz.

Nelson, who collected his own hat trick against the Scorpions on

Nov. 14, then added an assist on Tobler’s first goal, which tied

the game 2-2.

But only 20 seconds later, defenseman Vladimir Hartinger gave

the Scorpions another lead on a slap shot from the blue line that

snuck by Baldrica’s blocker.

The Eagles responded late to force overtime, as Tobler scored

again on a power play. His second goal was set up perfectly by

Nelson’s second assist.

At the end of 60 minutes, the Eagles were out-shooting the

Scorpions 53-26, and the ice was completely tilted in Colorado’s

favor. Lorenz seemed to tire out as the shots and odd-man chances

continued to pile up for the Eagles.

“We were confident in all the chances we were getting, and we

knew eventually we would put one past him (Lorenz),” Nelson

said.

The Eagles have come back from 2-0 deficits two games in a row.

The Eagles finished their six-game home stand with a 5-1 record,

outscoring their opponents 28-19.

The team faces the Scorpions again Saturday at the Budweiser

Events Center for a matinee game at 2:35 p.m.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.