In most instances, 49 shots on goal in regulation will win a hockey game. For the Colorado Eagles Friday night, that simply wasn't the case.
The Eagles split a pair of games between the visiting Memphis RiverKings this weekend in the Budweiser Events Center. After dropping the first game to the underdog RiverKings 5-3, the Eagles bounced back with a 6-3 win on Saturday. The Eagles are now 5-0 in games coming off a loss.
Colorado exacted their revenge on the River Kings Saturday night after the disappointing loss on Friday. While they continued the same offensive pressure as Friday night's game, the real key came in their special teams. The Eagles converted on four of their 12 power play opportunities en route to a 6-3. Rookie goaltender Jeff Blair got the win for the Eagles.
The RiverKings dumped a goal into the net when the game was a mere 14 seconds old to start the night. The Eagles responded with three goals in the period, two by Greg Pankewicz to establish their offensive presence. Their disciplined approach kept Memphis' opportunities to a minimum to secure the victory.
Friday night's game displayed an efficient RiverKing team. While getting only 22 shots on goal compared to Colorado's 49, they were able to find the back of the net five times.
"We had a lot of chances," defenseman Matt Desrosiers told the Fort Collins Coloradoan. "We went out and worked hard – we just had to bury our chances and we didn't."
The Eagles landed 20 shots in the first period alone, but were stood up each time by Memphis goalie Guy St. Vincent, who played a spectacular game to keep the RiverKings alive. Paulo Colaiacovo, despite a decent third period performance, was out of position early on in some key situations that gave Memphis their opportunities.
The Eagles managed to tie the game in the third, but their victory hopes were dashed when Ryan Watson scored on a breakaway that buried the hatchet. After pulling Colaiacovo for an extra attacker, the Eagles were stung a final time by an empty-net goal to end the game.
"We certainly could have finished a little better around the net," said Eagles coach Chris Stewart to the Coloradoan. "Their goaltending played well for them."
The Eagles are gearing up for a four game road trip this week, starting with conference rival Tulsa. Colorado is just three wins away from achieving their 100th in team history.