Playoff hockey is usually tense. Nothing could be more tense than an overtime game at the loud Laredo Entertainment Center in Laredo, Tex., which is what the fans in Texas were treated to last night with a 5-4 overtime win for the home Laredo Bucks, who prevented the Eagles from sweeping the series.
"We're two wins away from the President's Cup," said head coach Chris Stewart before the game on 99.9 FM.
The Eagles entered Game 3 at the Laredo Entertainment Center coming off of an impressive 4-1 win last Wednesday in Colorado. The Eagles made their presence known quickly, with goals from Riley Nelson and Kevin Marsh halfway through the period. Laredo struck back quickly after Marsh's goal with a quick wrist shot from Adam Paiement that squeaked past Eagle goalie Tyler Weiman.
The Bucks weren't able to carry the momentum though, being out-shot 10-5 in the period by an Eagles team that played a very solid first period.
"One thing we weren't able to do at the Budweiser Events Center was play these guys one on one and play the puck wide to the outside," Stewart said.
Colorado carried its offensive pressure into the second, getting a goal from Ryan Tobler early on to start things off. Laredo got a boost halfway through the period off of a Brent Cullaton goal, but the Bucks were unable to generate enough quality scoring chances despite doubling the Eagles shots in the period.
Colorado, content with its small lead, collapsed offensively in the third.
By the halfway point of the period, Laredo had both tied the game and gotten the go-ahead goal to make it 4-3. The Bucks exploded in the third, out-shooting the Eagles 10-1 in the first half. Colorado committed a few unnecessary penalties in the period as well, including a Marsh high-sticking that gave the Bucks room to skate and generate solid chances.
Just when it appeared that the game was a done deal, Eagle Lee Ruff slid the puck under David Guerrera to send it into overtime with less than two minutes remaining. The overtime period was well fought and very evenly played until Jeff Bes got a goal on a 3-on-1 shorthanded opportunity to trim the Eagles' series lead to 2-1.
The two teams will square off again tomorrow night at the Laredo Entertainment Center. Tune in to 99.9 FM for the play by play.