The Colorado Eagles kicked off their 2005-06 preseason in grand style over the weekend, racking up 11 goals en route to two solid victories against the Amarillo Gorillas.
Despite a number of rookies being added to the veteran lineup of Greg Pankewicz, Matt Derosiers and Fraser Fillipic, the Eagles played a solid home opener in the two games. They consistently out-skated and out-shot the visiting Gorillas, who couldn't seem to settle into a solid momentum.
"We've got a lot of great veterans on this team who take charge of it, and they show the younger guys at practice," said center Garret Larson. "That was quite a pleasure working with (Nelson and Pankewicz).
The Eagles showed off their rookies in the second preseason game Saturday night, with goaltending duties split between Chris Davidson, who had the win, and Matt Iorianni. Fraser Fillipic had a hat trick for Colorado to boost them to an impressive 6-3 win.
As in the first preseason game, discipline appeared to be a problem as the teams combined for 27 power-plays. The man-advantage became the difference for The Eagles, who converted on four of their opportunities.
Amarillo stuttered offensively much more than they had the previous night, only posting 22 shots as opposed to Colorado's whopping 40. Despite the numbers, both teams played much more conservative hockey for the second night's game. The Eagles had the upper hand, however, and were able to ratchet two goals in the first three minutes.
Paulo Colaiacovo, Colorado's hero in the final game of the CHL finals last year put on an impressive show for the sold-out Budweiser Events Center in the first preseason game Friday night. Colaiacovo allowed only two goals on 33 shots by the Gorillas, who despite an astounding 13 power-plays were unable to generate consistent offense. The Eagles scored three goals in the first half of the first period alone, stunning the goaltender Shawn Degagne to pull out a 5-2 win. Degagne was pulled in favor of veteran Jamie Vandespyker after he had allowed four goals.
Colorado kept excellent offensive pressure throughout the game, but let their emotions get the best of them at times with a large number of unnecessary penalties, including two for fighting during the second period. Amarillo was better at staying out of the sin-bin but was ultimately hurt by their sluggish second period, in which they only had seven shots.
"Tonight was a great game all the way around," said head coach Chris Stewart after Friday's game.
The Eagles begin regular season play Friday night at the Budweiser Events Center against the Southern Champion Laredo Bucks. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.