Jan 212007
 
Authors: Brandon Owens

The Colorado Eagles began the second half of the season with a bang over the weekend at the Budweiser Events Center.

On Saturday, the Eagles (29-5-0) came back from a 1-3 deficit midway through the third period to beat the New Mexico Scorpions by a final score of 5-3. They scored a team record four goals in one minute and 52 seconds during the comeback.

Head Coach Chris Stewart gave most of the credit to the team’s character.

“We’ve never packed it in,” Stewart said. “The tougher the situation, the better they play.”

He added that the crowd was certainly one factor that helped produce the surge of energy.

Captain and center Riley Nelson began the scoring on Saturday night. The Scorpions later scored three unanswered goals in the first and third periods.

Then following a 40-minute scoring draught, four separate Eagles players scored as Colorado surged ahead of New Mexico. Center Ed McGrane initiated it with a goal midway through the third period. Nelson, right wing Scott Polaski, and defenseman Brad Williamson all followed with goals in the stretch of less than two minutes.

“I think we have the confidence to come back from a deficit in any game,” Williamson said. “We sure have the firepower.”

The Eagles began the night very strong on Friday with three goals in the first period as they beat the Arizona Sundogs by the final score of 3-1.

The three all-stars hooked up to score the first point when Nelson scored on a power play with assists from right wing Chris Hartsburg and Williamson.

Stewart was surprised to see the all-stars play with such a high amount of energy after the recent All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

“I thought Chris Hartsburg showed more emotion than anyone else on this team,” Stewart said after the game. “We’ve given him the chance to get rewarded for all his hard work and everything has gone well and he has played great.”

Hartsburg and center Sean Robinson each contributed with a goal in the first period.

The Eagles have won 17 out of their last 18 games as they continue to lead the CHL in victories and points. However, Stewart and players continue to stress the importance of playing the complete game.

“We’re still playing in spurts,” Stewart said. “Come playoff time you can’t get away with that. More than anything, we need to continue to get better with our 60 minutes of intensity.”

The Eagles play the final game of their three-game home stand against the Laredo Bucks, the team with the best record in the Southern division, on Wednesday night.

Eagles beat writer Brandon Owens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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