With two games left in the regular season, the Colorado Eagles are still in a battle for playoff position.
The Eagles (45-16-1) are fighting for the Central Hockey League’s Governor’s Cup, the award given to the best regular season team. Colorado currently leads the race for the cup, but the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs trail by only three points.
The Eagles helped their cause by defeating the Lubbock Cotton Kings Wednesday. Colorado right wing Greg Pankewicz scored his first goal since coming back from injury on March 16 to insure a 4-1 Eagles win. Centers Ed McGrane and Riley Nelson and forward Seth Leonard also posted goals.
The Colorado defense showed up in full force, allowing only 18 shots on goal, tying a record low for the Cotton Kings.
This weekend the Eagles will head out on the road for back-to-back games against teams heading to the playoffs. On Friday they will face off against the New Mexico Scorpions (31-22-8). Colorado has dominated the season series, winning all five meetings this season.
Saturday, the Eagles head to the desert for a showdown with the Arizona Sundogs (32-28-2). Colorado has at times struggled with the expansion Sundogs, but still lead the series four games to three. The Eagles have yet to win a game in Arizona this season.
Colorado defenseman Brad Williamson feels these two games could be critical to the Eagles’ playoff hopes.
“The next two games are huge to us,” Williamson said. “Our goal was to have home ice to start out the playoffs and we are going to need to wins to do that. Just having that one extra game at home in a series means a lot to this team. The year we won the championship we won all of our home games.”
Rookie defenseman Craig Strain agreed that home-ice advantage is critical.
“When you look at our home record through the regular season we are a pretty difficult club to beat on our ice,” Strain said. “If we can get the advantage of having four games of a best-of-seven series it would play right into our hands.”
This season, the Eagles sport the best home record in the CHL at 28-4.
Colorado Head Coach Chris Stewart is happy the Eagles have motivation to play this late in the season.
“I think it is a real good thing,” Stewart said. “It keeps us on top of our game and show’s us that we have something to play for.”
Eagles beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.