After losing its first game of a three-game road trip, the Colorado Eagles travel to Laredo, Texas, tonight for a battle between the top two teams in the Central Hockey League.
The Laredo Bucks (38-13-5) and the Eagles (40-14-1), are tied for the top position in the CHL with 81 points each.
Tonight’s game is very important to Colorado’s players as they look to secure the top spot in the league.
“Our main goal is to clinch first overall,” center Ed McGrane said. “Anything less than that would be kind of a disappointment.”
The defending champion Bucks and the Eagles have combined to win the last three consecutive Ray Miron President’s Cup titles. Laredo is currently ranked No. 1 in the Coaches Poll, with Colorado a close second.
The Eagles were defeated 3-1 by the Bucks in the two teams’ previous meeting on Jan. 24.
“We want the home-ice advantage in front of these great fans,” left wing Steve Haddon said.
Colorado is coming off its first overtime loss of the season. On Wednesday night, the Eagles were defeated 3-2 by the Wichita Thunder.
The game ended in a shootout, with Joe Blaznek scoring two goals including the game winner for the Thunder.
The Eagles out shot Wichita 51 to 21, but Thunder goalie Andrew Martin was too strong, saving 49 shots on the night. Paulo Colaiacovo saved 19 of 21 shots as his record fell to (3-4-1).
Captain Riley Nelson and defender Les Borsheim both scored goals for Colorado.
With only nine games left in the regular season, the Eagles look to finish strong as they prepare for the playoffs.
“I definitely want to play great before the playoffs,” McGrane said. “That’s everyone’s goal. You just want to go into the playoffs on a high.”
Players are eagerly looking forward to the next part of the season, left wing Seth Leonard said.
“We’re all just begging for the playoffs to come around.”
Eagles beat writer Brandon Owens can be reached at email@example.com.