The Colorado Eagles are not accustomed to playing after a loss, but that is something they must overcome this weekend.
After losing at home for the first time since their season opener, the Eagles must recover and travel south for three games in three different cities. As the Eagles make the 11-hour trip to Tulsa, Okla., it is safe to say they will have Wednesday night’s loss on their minds.
It was a battle of heavyweights at the Budweiser Events Center as two of the three top teams in the Central Hockey League faced off.
The Colorado Eagles (29-5) came up on the short end of the stick as the defending CHL champion Laredo Bucks (26-9-3) won an action-packed game, 3-1. The loss marked Colorado’s first home defeat since the season opener on Oct. 20 against the Rocky Mountain Rage.
Laredo forward Bobby Chaumont scored an empty-net goal with 12 seconds left in the game to put the Eagles away for good.
Colorado goalie Marco Emond gave up two goals in the first period, causing his team to play catch-up for the rest of the game.
The Eagles’ only goal of the night came in the first period off the stick of Chris Hartsburg, his 19th of the season. Laredo goalie Eric Marvin kept Colorado out of the net the rest of the evening, blocking 31 of 32 shots.
With the win, Laredo ended the Eagles’ 19-game home win streak. Colorado was just two wins away from tying the CHL record of 21 held by Laredo.
The loss helps to put Colorado’s position in perspective according to Head Coach Chris Stewart.
“In some areas we are not necessarily the best team in the league,” Stewart said. “We had our chances to get the win.”
Eagle’s defensemen Eric Adams was disappointed with the loss but thought his team gave a good effort.
“We played hard,” Adams said. “We had our chances but we couldn’t capitalize. A good team needs to do that. You have to come into every game and play your best.”
Laredo defensemen Kris Mallette hopes to see the Eagles again down the road and is confident he will.
“It is a great match-up,” said Mallette. “Hopefully both teams will have continued success and we will meet up in the finals.”
The Eagles realize they will have to shake the loss off quickly. With three road games in the next three days, Colorado knows they have no time to take a step back.
Tonight, Colorado travels down south to face the Tulsa Oilers, a team they have beaten in twice this season.
On Saturday, the Wichita Thunder will host the Eagles, who lead the season series 4-0.
The Eagles will end their road trip against the Oklahoma City Blazers on Sunday. Colorado has yet to lose a game to any of these teams this season and Stewart thinks that trend may continue.
“I would like to see us get nine points,” Stewart said. “It will be a good test for the team. We get to see three different types of teams in three nights. That is the amazing thing about sports. You can have immediate redemption and all it will take is a win tonight.”
Eagles beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.