Apr 122007
Authors: Brandon Owens

After a dominating 6-1 victory on Tuesday night, the Colorado Eagles will try to keep the momentum going tonight in game one of the conference semi-finals at the Budweiser Events Center.

For the second consecutive season, the Eagles will play the Oklahoma City Blazers in the conference semi-finals. Last season, Colorado defeated Oklahoma City in a hard-fought series that went to seven games.

The Eagles have beaten the Blazers in three out of five games this season, including a 6-1 victory in the most recent game on March 13.

“They’ve got the same goaltending,” Head Coach Chris Stewart said. “They’ve got the same core players; they’ve added a couple of very highly skilled players.”

One of the “highly skilled” additions that Stewart mentioned is center Chad Hinz. Since he came to Oklahoma City, Hinz has scored 16 points in only 10 games.

The Eagles counter with Ed McGrane, the Central Hockey League’s high scorer through the first round of the playoffs. McGrane has 13 points, including four goals and nine assists.

Stewart expects this series to be another grueling battle.

“They’re a good team and they’ll play us very physical, ” he said. “It’s going to be a hard-fought series from start to finish.”

The best-of-seven series format has changed for round two. It will now be a 1-1-2-2-1 format, where the two teams will alternate playing one game a piece at home, followed by each team playing two games consecutively at home, followed by a final game in Colorado, if necessary.

Eagles’ defenseman Brad Williamson says hard work will be the key to keeping momentum.

“We’re a hard-working team,” Williamson said. “We’ve worked hard all year to get where we are and that’s what were going to have to do win.”

The puck drops at 7:05 at the BEC.

Eagles beat reporter Brandon Owens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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