Crashing the net, taking a perfect feed from defenseman Scott
Swanson and redirecting the puck past a sprawling goaltender,
Colorado Eagles forward Ryan Tobler scored the game-winning goal in
the Eagles’ 4-3 overtime victory over the New Mexico Scorpions
In front of another packed house at the Budweiser Events Center,
Tobler’s redirection with 10 seconds left in overtime slipped past
Scorpions’ goaltender Danny Lorenz to provide the winning margin.
The goal completed Tobler’s hat trick and boosted the Eagles’
record to a Northwest Division-leading 14-5-1.
“He’s absolutely on fire,” said Eagles coach Chris Stewart on
Tobler. “He drives to the net so hard and always makes something
Stewart also credited Swanson for setting up the play.
“Swanson saw the opportunity to make the final rush a 4-on-3, so
he took it,” Stewart said. “I am glad he did because I knew Tobler
was going to cash in.”
The real story of the game, however, was Lorenz. The New Mexico
goalie was stellar for the entire game, making miraculous saves on
every Eagles player. He amassed 54 saves and was named as one of
three stars of the game.
“If not for Lorenz, the score is easily 8 or 9 to 3,” said
Eagles forward Karlis Zirnis.
“He’s a former NHL goaltender, and it showed tonight,” Stewart
said. “He was absolutely amazing all night.”
The New Mexico defense also provided the team’s offense as Shaun
Peet scored early in the first period on a shot from the blue line
that found its way over the glove of Eagles’ goaltender Gian
Baldrica, making his second appearance of the season, responded
well to an early goal, a fierce Scorpions forecheck and a
pressure-filled overtime. He finished with 24 saves to stay
unbeaten on the season.
Eagles penalties started to plague them in the second as
Scorpions’ defenseman Jeff Alcombrack scored on New Mexico’s fourth
power play to stretch the lead 2-0.
Down for the second straight game, the Eagles quickly cut the
deficit in half as center Riley Nelson scored his 14th goal on a
sharp-angled shot that rang off the post and slipped in behind a
Nelson, who collected his own hat trick against the Scorpions on
Nov. 14, then added an assist on Tobler’s first goal, which tied
the game 2-2.
But only 20 seconds later, defenseman Vladimir Hartinger gave
the Scorpions another lead on a slap shot from the blue line that
snuck by Baldrica’s blocker.
The Eagles responded late to force overtime, as Tobler scored
again on a power play. His second goal was set up perfectly by
Nelson’s second assist.
At the end of 60 minutes, the Eagles were out-shooting the
Scorpions 53-26, and the ice was completely tilted in Colorado’s
favor. Lorenz seemed to tire out as the shots and odd-man chances
continued to pile up for the Eagles.
“We were confident in all the chances we were getting, and we
knew eventually we would put one past him (Lorenz),” Nelson
The Eagles have come back from 2-0 deficits two games in a row.
The Eagles finished their six-game home stand with a 5-1 record,
outscoring their opponents 28-19.
The team faces the Scorpions again Saturday at the Budweiser
Events Center for a matinee game at 2:35 p.m.