Behind Marco Emond’s spectacular goalie play and great special teams, the Colorado Eagles finished off the Youngstown SteelHounds in dominating fashion. The Eagles beat the SteelHounds 6-1 on Tuesday night at the Budweiser Event Center.
Emond came into the game second in the Central Hockey League in goals-against average, allowing only 2.35 goals per game. He played his best game of the series tonight, allowing only one goal on 33 shots.
“We’re all doing our job,” Emond said. “When you get to the playoffs, it’s all about team effort. I had to make saves and the team blocked shots.”
Defenseman Brad Williamson made it possible for the 5,000 plus fans to receive free Subway when he scored the sixth and final goal for the Eagles with a little over three minutes left in the game. Center Sean Robertson provided the only other offense in the third period, scoring a goal 45 seconds into the period.
Left wing Seth Leonard punched the first goal in for the Eagles about three minutes into the first period. Leonard has now scored points in five of the Eagles six playoff games.
Defenseman Craig Strain scored on the Eagles second power play of the game, putting the Eagles on top 2-0. About 15 seconds later, Brent Hughes pounded another goal in for the Eagles, bringing their lead up to 3-0.
Defenseman Aaron Schneekloth scored the second power play of the game for the Eagles about halfway through the second period making it 4-0. Schneekloth had three assists to go along with the goal.
“I just tried to stick to the game plan and contribute the best that I could, Schneekloth said. “The key was just working hard in front of the net and winning those battles in front.”
CHL MVP Jeff Christian of the SteelHounds finally scored with about five minutes left in the second period, which ended 4-1.
Head Coach Chris Stewart said the series prepared them for round two.
“I think they pushed us and forced us to be a better club,” he said. “They threw some adversity at us. Anytime you go through adversity, you’re always going to get better.”
Colorado was solid on special teams all night. The Eagles were outstanding on the penalty kill all game, shutting down all 10 of the SteelHounds power plays, including three five-on-threes.
“The kills off the five on threes creates momentum and knocks the wind out of the other team and really builds confidence for us,” Stewart said. “Killing those five on threes were huge at the beginning of the game.”
Ed McGrane continued his blistering hot playoff run playoff run with two assists, bringing his total points to 12 with four goals and eight assists.
Bossier-Shreveport, the top seeded team in the Northern Conference defeated Wichita in six games. They won last night 4-1. Oklahoma City, Laredo and New Mexico also advanced to the next round. In the only first-round series not finished, Corpus-Christi defeated Arizona tying the series 3-3.
“If we can continue to play as well as we can on our specialty teams, then we’ll be able to be successful in the next series,” Stewart said.
The Eagles will host the Oklahoma City Blazers on Friday in round two of the playoffs. The puck drops at 7:05 at the BEC.
Eagles reporter Brandon Owens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .