By Michael Hicks
LOVELAND — Konrad Reeder’s third goal of the game sparked a third-period onslaught as the Colorado Eagles posted an 8-4 victory over the Central Hockey League’s All-Stars on Wednesday night at the Budweiser Events Center.
The game — the first time the All-Star contest has been played in this format — was tied at three entering the final period, but the host Eagles quickly put the game away with three goals in the first 5 minutes, 13 seconds of the third. Ed McGrane’s unassisted score with 15:58 remaining gave Colorado a 5-3 lead. A little more than a minute later, Riley Nelson punched in the team’s lone power-play goal.
“That was a lot of fun. I had my parents in town, too. It’s always nice to do it in front of them with all the time they put in and stuff,” said Reeder, who added a fourth goal — a short-handed breakaway midway through the third period. “Like we said, we have so many guys that make plays and I was the recipient of a bunch of nice plays tonight.”
Jay Birnie closed the Eagles’ scoring by going top shelf on CHL goaltender Sebastien Centomo with 4:48 left. It was the sixth goal surrendered by the Laredo goalie — the fifth in the third period. Arizona’s Joel Irving added a late goal for the CHL All-Stars.
“Obviously, you know, they throw a group of guys together. They had that one practice this morning, and it’s going to make a little difference. But it’s such a talented group over there you know they had some chances,” Eagles head coach Kevin McClelland said.
Just not enough to stop Colorado.
The Eagles opened the game with a 2-0 lead after first-period goals by Reeder and Greg Pankewicz. Pankewicz’s goal 8:41 into the game was his ninth in All-Star
Game history, breaking a tie he shared with Memphis’ Don Parsons. The goal also extended Pankewicz’s All-Star points record to 18. He added a 19th point when he assisted on Reeder’s third goal.
The CHL All-Stars tied it at two with back-to-back tallies against Eagles starting goalie Andrew Penner. First, Rio Grand Valley’s Nicolas Dumoulin pushed a goal across with 45 seconds left in the first period. Then just 23 seconds into the second Laredo’s Darryl Smith scored unassisted to even the score.
Colorado regained the lead two and half minutes later on Reeder’s second goal of the game, but the All-Stars rallied again on Russ Moyer’s tally past Morgan Cey with 4:06 left in the second.
For more on Wednesday’s night’s game, check out next week’s edition of The Berthoud Recorder.
<div>Colorado Eagles players look on as fireworks drop from the scoreboard during the opening ceremonies of Wednesday night’s CHL All-Star Game at Loveland’s Budweiser Events Center. A sellout crowd of 5,289 watched the hometown Eagles score an 8-4 victory behind four goals from game MVP Konrad Reeder.</div>
<div>Eagles goaltender Andrew Penner, left, makes one of his 25 saves — this one against Laredo’s Darryl Smith — during the first period Wednesday night. Penner played the first 29 minutes of the game before turning goaltending duties over to teammate Morgan Cey, who stopped 20 shots for Colorado.</div>