The Colorado Eagles special teams play carried them to consecutive victories this weekend.
The Eagles defeated the expansion Arizona Sundogs in back-to-back games, as the team’s penalty kill and power play shined.
On Saturday night, the Eagles defeated the Sundogs 5-2. All five Eagles goals came from special teams play, three on penalty kills and two on power plays.
During the game, Eagles captain Greg Pakewicz reached a milestone, scoring his 499, 500, 501 and 502 career goals. Center Riley Nelson also added a goal.
“Over the years, there aren’t too many guys who score 500 goals,” Pankewicz said. “I have been fortunate enough to do so.”
Pankewicz is still focused on the team’s success above his own accomplishments.
“Someday it will be nice to be able to look back at, but for now it is more important to establish ourselves as a hockey team,” he said.
With scoring his 500th goal, Pankewicz became the first player in American professional hockey history to have 500 goals, 500 assists, 1,000 points and 3,000 penalty minutes.
Overall, the Eagles were happy with their performance.
“We did really well,” Nelson said. “We moved the puck really well on the power play and played well on the penalty kill. These are things that are really important in our league with as many penalties as are called.”
The Eagles also won 5-4 Friday night in what turned out to be an extremely physical game. Colorado defensemen Craig Strain scored a goal with just under three minutes left in the game to put the Eagles ahead for good. The Eagles battled for most of the game, falling behind 2-0 in the first period.
“We knew it would be a tough, physical game,” Strain said. “It shows the character of the team. We keep on the gas and believe we are going to get a win.”
Centers Sean Roberson and Chris Hartsburg as well as defensemen Brad Williamson and Aaron Schneekloth also contributed goals.
Eagles Head Coach Chris Stewart pointed to the team’s penalty kill as a big reason for the win.
“They (the Sundogs) didn’t get a shot on goal until the third or fourth series,” Stewart said. “We want to be a little sharper, but it was a solid game with lots of intensity.”
The Sundogs came into Friday night as the leading power play scoring team in the Central Hockey League.
Eagle’s defensemen Ryan Tobler was happy the team was able to establish a physical presence.
“That’s the way we play,” said Tobler. “We’re physical players and that’s the brand of hockey we bring.”
Eagles beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.
By the Numbers:
502- Goals scored by Greg Pankewicz in his 16-year career.
183- Combined penalty minutes from the 2 game series.
10- Goals scored by Pankewicz this season.
4- Consecutive wins by the Eagles.
0- Games the Eagles have lost with Marco Emond in goal.