Eagles Get Another Close Win Over Rush
LOVELAND, Colo. - The Colorado Eagles rode a four-goal first period to a 6-5 win against the Rapid City Rush in another close contest between the two teams. Konrad Reeder and Riley Nelson each had three point nights to pace the Eagles with Greg Pankewicz, Ryan Tobler, Ed McGrane and Scott Polaski each pitching in a pair of points as well.
Eagles/Rush Box Score
The Rush scored a pair of power-play goals in the first (both courtesy of Derek LeBlanc), but the Eagles doubled them up for four scores in the opening period. Rapid City opened the scoring at 3:13 after Gio Flamminio's shot from above the left circle was kicked aside by Andrew Penner's left pad, but LeBlanc put home the rebound from below the right circle.
Reeder answered at 9:51 after slipping through a check at his own blue line along the boards to spring a 3-on-1 rush for Colorado. Reeder carried the puck down the right wing before feeding McGrane in the high slot and putting home his return pass from low in the right circle. The assist extended McGrane's point streak to 14 games, tying his own personal high and the fifth-longest streak in franchise history.
LeBlanc got his second goal of the period at 11:53 with a rocket shot from the right midboards that beat Penner high, but things would go downhill in the period for Rapid City after that. Miguel Beaudry was shaken up after Adam Hogg was tripped into him at 13:16, and on the ensuing power play, Colorado tied the game up. Tobler got his league-leading 21st power-play goal just seven seconds into the man advantage after Polaski's shot from the high slot was deflected by a diving defender and fluttered to the veteran forward on the doorstep.
Then, just 14 seconds later, the Eagles made it 3-2 when Riley Nelson gained control of the puck along the left boards, carried it to the center of the offensive zone and hit Kevin Ulanski backdoor for a backhand goal. Lanny Ramage replaced Beaudry after the goal. Pankewicz teamed up with Reeder at 17:59 for
Colorado's fourth and final goal of the frame when he tapped a pass from the right circle to Reeder, who was skating through the slot. Reeder then sent a return pass to the Eagles' captain who had gone to the vacated slot and beat Ramage.
Both teams scored a pair of goals in the second period with Nelson getting the Eagles' second power-play score of the night 3:45 in. Pankewicz threw the puck on net from the left midboards where Nelson was camped out to backhand the rebound past the Rush netminder. R.G. Flath got that goal back at 7:43 with a shorthanded tally after the puck squirted free from the boards in front of the benches and Flath's shot from the high slot slipped under Penner's left pad.
Reeder picked up his second goal of the night at 15:13 when Luke Fritshaw sent a pass right to him in the left circle from behind the Rapid City cage. Reeder took the gift, walked in on net and snapped a shot past Ramage. But the perseverant Rush kept coming and scored their second goal of the period at 17:48. Jason Goulet sent a shot on net from the right wing boards that was kicked aside by Penner, but Chris Lipsett was able to bank the rebound off the inside of the netminder's pad and into the net.
Rapid City made a hard-fought effort at a comeback in the third, sending 18 shots on net and scoring once late in a mad finish. Penner was strong in the third and made his best save with just over a minute left by moving right to left and stacking his pads. But just a half minute later, Flath got his second goal of the game by deflecting a Jamie VanderVeeken shot past the Eagles' netminder from the doorstep. The period ended deep in Colorado's end with considerable pressure put on Penner and the Eagles' defense, but they hung on for the win to stay on top of the CHL standings.