Home ice has meant little in the Colorado Eagles second-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Blazers.
Colorado defeated the Blazers in Oklahoma City Saturday night behind an outstanding performance from rookie goalie Tim Boron.
Boron completely shut down Oklahoma City, stopping all 31 shots on goal in his first ever CHL playoff game. The former Saint Cloud State Husky started the playoffs as a reserve but was named as backup goalie for the second round series.
Left wing Seth Leonard scored the final goal of the game at 9:42 in the third period, extending his playoff goal scoring streak to five games straight.
Eagle center Sean Robertson scored a game winning short-handed goal with 18 minutes left in the first period. Centers Riley Nelson and Ed McGrane also provided goals as Colorado cruised to a 4-0 victory.
In the opening game Friday, the Eagles couldn’t take advantage of home ice as they fell to the Blazers in the series opening game.
McGrane brought Colorado within one goal, putting a shot past Blazers goalie Sean Connors with 2:20 left in the third period. The Eagles then pulled goalie Marco Emond, but their desperate measures fell short as Oklahoma City prevailed 3-2.
Oklahoma never trailed in the game, pulling ahead 1-0 in the first period. Eagles left wing Seth Leonard would tie the game up in the second, but the Blazers would take the lead again off a Tyler Fleck goal with 40 seconds left in the period.
Colorado defenseman Les Borsheim felt the Blazers goal at the end of the second really took the wind out of his team.
“Giving up goals in the last minute of a period is something you really want to avoid in the playoffs,” Borsheim said. “They are real momentum killers.”
Eagles Head Coach Chris Stewart had hoped his team could get past giving up early goals.
“We didn’t come out with the jump I had hoped we would come out with,” said fourth year Colorado coach. “I discussed through out the week that it is imperative that we don’t come out in a feeling out process, which usually happens in the first game of a series. That is exactly what happened in this game.”
Colorado has given up the first goal in four of its eight playoff games this season.
In coming games, Stewart expects more from his team than what he saw Friday.
“I expect more jump and to see our leaders coming thorough with that extra effort to show that drive we need,” Stewart said. “I don’t think we played poorly, but we didn’t play with that desperation we need. Hopefully it is a lesson well learned.”
Eagles beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Game 3: Eagles at Oklahoma City
When: Tonight at 6:05 p.m.
Where: Ford Center, Oklahoma City
Broadcast: 99.9 The Point Radio