After giving up the lead and suffering such a disappointing loss at the hands of the Laredo Bucks on Sunday night, many expected the Eagles would be low on morale and easily defeated last night.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, the Eagles were not about to squander their series lead. Instead, Colorado exploded from the first whistle to skate to an easy 4-1 victory, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the final series for the President's Cup.
Ryan Tobler said hello to Laredo's Jeremy Symington just 1:31 into the period with a tip in off a Chris Hartsburg slap shot. The Bucks, seemingly caught off guard by the sudden offense, tried vainly to play catch up for the remainder of the period. Colorado was on its game though, doubling Laredo's shots and racking up an additional goal from Lee Ruff near the end of the period. Going into the intermission, it looked like the Eagles would have an easy night, as goalie Paulo Colaiacovo played a superb first period.
Colorado's mission of domination continued into the second period. Just three minutes in, Riley Nelson and Chris Hartsburg knocked in a pair of goals to give the Eagles a commanding 4-0 lead. David Guerrera replaced Symington at that point, but he too was peppered with shot after shot from Colorado. The Eagles played a conservative remainder of the period to retain their lead.
Like Sunday night, that was almost their downfall.
After Hartsburg took an unnecessary penalty for hooking in the first minute of the period, Brent Cullaton tapped in a shot that Colaiacovo had no chance of saving to start the Bucks scoring drive. While it seemed likely that Laredo would take the momentum and run with it, they continued to stutter offensively after Cullaton's goal. The Eagles had no problem playing conservative offense for the remainder of the game, limiting the shots on Colaiacovo and shutting down the Bucks in the neutral zone. Colorado managed a few quality scoring chances to end the game and take the dominating lead in the series.
"I thought it was two teams going really hard at each other," Tobler said to
99.9 FM after the game.
The Eagles look to wrap up the series tomorrow night at the Laredo Entertainment Center in game five. The game will be broadcast on 99.9 FM. Should the Eagles lose Game 5, they will have two additional chances to get the final win on home ice.