The Colorado Eagles’ wings have been clipped and the final page
of a successful expansion season has been turned.
Some 546 miles away from the Eagles’ home, the Budweiser Events
Center, in Wichita, Kan., the Central Hockey League’s Northern
Conference Champions could not force a Game 5, losing the
conference’s best-of-five semifinal series 3-1 to the Wichita
Thunder. After playing well enough in Game 3 of the series to force
another game in Kansas, the Eagles failed to bring the series back
home, losing Game 4 2-1 on Saturday. The team dug itself into a
deep hole by losing Games 1 and 2 at home, and failed to make a
historic comeback. No team has ever come back from being down 2-0
in a playoff series and only one team has forced a fifth game.
“I felt that this team had all the tools to get it done,”
Eagles’ head coach Chris Stewart told local reporters. “That’s
truly what I believed.”
Despite scoring first in four straight games, penalties and
penalty killing were the forces of nature that the Eagles were
unable to contend with. Ten opportunities for the Thunder in Game 4
kept the Eagles from establishing their great forecheck from Games
2 and 3. The Thunder scored seven of their 10 goals with the man
The amount of whistles that went against the Eagles allowed
Wichita to stifle Colorado with the goaltending of Nathan
“It was an unreal series,” Grobins said. “It’s not too often
that you sweep a No. 1 team, but we did not want to go back to
Colorado for a Game 5.”
Fans numbering 2,677 stood and cheered in the final 90 seconds
as Stewart tried to pull goaltender Ryan Bach for an extra
attacker. Bach exited with 37 seconds left but the Thunder held on
for a 2-1 victory, completing the first-round upset.
The goaltending battle was fabulous for the entire series and
Grobins was just a puck better than Bach in Game 4.
Although their season is now over, the Eagles said they have too
many bright spots from the regular season to not be excited for
their next run.
CHILL IN PLAYOFFS
The Colorado Chill of the National Women’s Basketball League
finished its regular season much like the Eagles did, but just a
The Chill ended the season undefeated at home 12-0 after
crushing the Chicago Blaze, 78-64 at the Budweiser Events Center
Now they are looking to spark a run in the NWBL Pro Cup
Playoffs, which begin Tuesday in Dallas. The return of ex-CSU
basketball star Becky Hammond to the Chill’s roster adds fuel to
the fire as the team looks to make some noise in its first playoff
The Chill finished first in the NWBL standings by going 17-11
overall and received a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The
team plays the winner of Tuesday’s playoff-opening Chicago
Blaze-Birmingham Power game on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.