After three consecutive home team losses in the Northern Conference Semi Finals, captains Riley Nelson and Greg Pankewicz of the Colorado Eagles dominated the ice to ensure a home team victory on Wednesday night.
The captains had two goals a piece in the 6-2 shellacking, including a goal a piece in the four-goal third period. Pankewicz pounded in his second goal of the night 2:56 into the final period to make it 3-1. About 30 seconds later, Riley Nelson slapped in his second goal of the night to make it 4-1.
Right wing’s Fraser Filipic and Scott Polaski also both scored goals in the final period to put the finishing touches on the victory for the Eagles. Colorado has now scored a league leading 24 goals in the third period, while only allowing eight.
“We’re a hard-working team,” Pankewicz said. “Going up against a team like Oklahoma City, you have to work hard. We learned our lesson against Youngstown. If you don’t outwork them, you’re not going to beat them.”
The first period was a defensive battle and ended scoreless with five total penalties.
Blazers forward AJ MacLean put the Blazers on the board first at 14:28 in the second period. Pankewicz and Nelson then rallied for the Eagles with a goal a piece to end the period leading 2-1.
Colorado increased their home playoff record to 15-5. They’ve scored at least six points in four out of the last five home games at the Budweiser Event Center.
Eagles center Ed McGrane had another assist tonight as he continues to lead the CHL in points with 17, 11 assists and 6 goals. With the assist, he increased his game scoring streak to 10.
Pankewicz increased his game scoring streak to four games. He has been an absolute nightmare for the Blazers in the playoffs scoring 22 points himself in the 11 playoff contests between the two teams.
“If you’re not ready to play, it’s not going to be a very successful night for you,” Pankewicz said. “I just try and come and outwork the guys that I’m against. I’ve been around long enough to enjoy the wins more than the points.”
Defenseman of the Year Brad Williamson also played an excellent game with three assists and had a big part in shutting down the Blazers power play.
“We just keep attacking them,” he said. “We’re just trying to play as physical as we can. We just got to come out just get the puck to the net as many times as possible.”
Colorado hopes to finish the series with in a win in game five on Friday night at the BEC. Pankewicz says that they just have to continue to match the intensity.
“They took us to seven last year and we have all the respect in the world for that hockey team,” he said. “The most important game is not the fourth one and we have an opportunity to do that Friday night.”
Eagles reporter Brandon Owens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.