The Colorado Eagles started a second season of Central Hockey
League play by trampling their Northern Conference rival, the Tulsa
Oilers, with scores of 6-0 and 7-2.
Don King could have promoted the continually sold-out Budweiser
Events Center as both games developed into fight nights for 5,289
fans. The two games totaled 206 penalty minutes, 50 infractions, 22
fighting majors and three game misconducts handed to Colorado’s
Kris Mallette, Fraser Filipic and Ryan Tobler.
“It’s great that we won the game(s), but more importantly we saw
guys backing each other up when it came to physical presence,” said
Eagles head coach Chris Stewart. “That’s all part of the chemistry
and team toughness we tried to work on last year.”
Mallette, a defenseman synonymous with the striking tool, laid
down the law Friday night by fighting Scott English, an ex-Fort
Worth Brahma. English threw a sucker punch over the top of a
linesman, hitting center Riley Nelson, which infuriated Mallette
and forced an old-fashioned tangle at center ice.
“We knew we were getting a big tough hombre in Mallette to begin
with,” Stewart said. “But the way he’s played was a lot better than
what we expected him to play. He’s been real solid, he’s strong on
his one-on-one’s, he moves the puck very well and he scares the
dickens out of guys – he’s done a lot of good things for us.”
Friday night’s shot total was the most lopsided in Eagles
history at 61-12. Saturday was more of the same at 53-24. Repeated
chances in the slot and many odd-man rushes were attributed to
Tulsa’s struggles with the lack of time to prepare for the Eagles’
“They haven’t done too much conditioning from what I
understand,” Stewart said. “They are at a whole different altitude
and they didn’t have much time to adjust at all.”
The floodgates opened at 15:52 of the first period when
hope-to-be Eagle Steve McCormack took advantage of a rebound
opportunity that deflected off the stick of Avalanche draft pick
David Svagrovsky. McCormack was patient and made no mistake
drilling the loose puck past an outstretched Oilers goalie, Evan
Riley Nelson and Ryan Tobler hooked each other up for goals in
the second period, both beating Lindsay between the legs. Lindsay
faced 43 prime shots before Jeremy Dotson replaced him after two
“I thought both their goaltenders played very well, but Lindsay
was extremely strong,” Stewart said.
The Eagles were dominant, displaying patient puck control and
efficient passing, feisty forechecking, and speed up the middle,
pretty much everything found in their arsenal from last season.
Colorado College graduate Gian Baldrica was rarely tested Friday
night, but still combined with Avalanche prospect Tyler Weiman to
get the shutout on a combined 12 shots. Weiman played the first
half of Saturday’s game as well before Joe Watkins showed his stuff
“Our defense did an outstanding job,” said Baldrica. “I mean
what else can you say?
Twelve total shots. I think they did a good job getting into
shape as quickly as they did.”
Defensemen Jesse Cook and Lee Ruff each scored during the
weekend, two players who will have to play with super-human
strength to fill the boots of ex-captain Brent Thompson, who signed
a contract to play for the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey
The Eagles showed the Oilers why offseason training is vital for
regular season success. Phil Crowe, last season’s tough and rugged
veteran and player-coach, took the next step in his career by
hanging up the skates after 14 professional seasons. This weekend
he was standing behind the bench making the calls while coach
Stewart watched from afar to analyze his talent pool and start
making his tough roster decisions.
“Chris did a great job recruiting, but we all pitched in a
little bit,” said Crowe. “But I think things are going well so far.
I’m excited about it and its time for me to move on and time for me
to get involved in this stage of it. I can learn a lot from
The Eagles will only have 18 skaters suited up when their
regular season starts Oct. 22 on the road against the Oklahoma City
Blazers. Colorado’s first home game is the following Friday on Oct.
29 against the Memphis River Kings.