After the 5-1 game seven victory on Wednesday night, the Colorado Eagles now set their sights on beating the Memphis RiverKings in the Northern Conference finals and getting to the championship series.
The Eagles play game one tonight and game two on Sunday, both at home at the Budweiser Events Center. They will have home-ice advantage throughout the rest of the playoffs. The series will be in a 2-3-2 format.
Head Coach Chris Stewart expects to see a contest with a lot of skill and speed.
“You’ll probably see a very skilled series,” Stewart said. “You’ll see very big speed and skill.”
The two teams split their regular season series 1-1. The Eagles won the last contest 5-2 on Feb. 7 at the BEC.
Defenseman Les Borsheim, who had an outstanding game on Wednesday night, expects a physical series.
“Memphis has some big (defense),” Borsheim said. “They have a very physical team. They’ve really improved and their coach is a good coach. He has a hard nosed hockey team, so I think it’s going to be a real great series with Memphis.”
Captain and center Riley Nelson also anticipates another tough series.
“I anticipate a hard series,” he said. “Obviously, they’ve proven that they can win and get this deep in the playoffs, so we’re going to have to take it one game at a time and come out with our best effort.”
Nelson said it would take three things to defeat the RiverKings and move on to the finals.
“The biggest thing is we have to have our energy level up,” he said. “We have to play disciplined hockey and we have to limit our mistakes.”
Both Stewart and Borsheim said it will take solid specialty teams play.
“Specialty teams will be very important and also making sure we finish every check,” Stewart said.
“It always comes down to goaltending and specialty teams in the playoffs,” Borsheim said.
The puck drops tonight at 7:05 at the BEC.
Eagles beat reporter Brandon Owens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Conference Finals Game 1
Colorado Eagles vs. Memphis RiverKings
7:05 p.m. Today at Budweiser Events Center