Eagles drop Bucks in game one
The Colorado Eagles, the best team in the Central Hockey League during the regular season, entered the final round of the playoffs Tuesday night against the defending champion Laredo Bucks. From the outset, it was obvious the former champs would not be toppled easily.
The two teams matched each other in most aspects of the game, and while the Bucks played a solid three periods of hockey, the Eagles managed to squeeze out a close 2-1 victory to go up 1-0 on the best-of-seven series. That win was quite a struggle though.
For the first time at home this playoff year, the Eagles entered the locker room after the first period down by a goal. A power-play goal by Laredo's Brent Cullaton sneaked by Eagle goalie Tyler Weiman near the end of the period to put Colorado in a hole and take a lot of energy out of the sold-out crowd at the Budweiser Events Center.
"This is a tough team we are up against," said Head Coach Chris Stewart. "They've got a team that skates very well."
The Bucks shot themselves in the foot midway through the second by taking a penalty for too many men on the ice after having dominated the game up to that point. Kevin Marsh made Laredo pay for the mistake in a huge way, flicking a light shot past David Guerrera to level the match at one. The reenergized Eagles lit the lamp again, just a few minutes later, when Marsh tipped in a Brad Williamson slap shot. Weiman made some spectacular saves in the period to give Colorado more momentum.
"He's a gem, the Avs (Colorado Avalanche) should be happy with him," said team Captain Greg Pankewicz of Weiman.
Both teams played a conservative third period, with the Bucks showing surprisingly little hustle for being down by a goal. Colorado did a great job of clearing the zone quickly to minimize scoring chances as well as keeping shots on Weiman down, as he only saw 24 in the game.
"The guys put together a solid 60-minute game tonight," said Director of Player Personnel Phil Crowe. "We got down by a goal early, but we never let it faze us."
The two teams square off again at 7:05 tonight at the Budweiser Events Center. The game can be heard on 99.9 FM.