LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles fell 6-3 to the CHL’s top team, the Allen Americans. Despite a solid effort all-around for the home team, the Americans scored on 25 percent of their shots to claim an opportunistic victory in a hard-fought contest. The game was a stark contrast to the teams’ record-tying 11-6 wide open affair last Saturday night.
Colorado out-shot Allen 10-7 in an intense first period, but Adrien LeMay made several solid stops and the Americans were opportunistic with their chances, netting three goals in the first 10:33. Former Eagle Erik Adams got the game’s first goal at 3:28 when Nino Musitelli found him from behind the net for a one-timer low in the right circle that got past Kyle Jones’ glove.
At 5:48, Colton Yellow Horn made it 2-0 after coming down the right wing and cutting to the middle of the ice as two of his teammates continued toward the net. The open ice allowed for the All-Star forward to snap a shot top shelf from the hashmarks. Allen made it 3-0 midway through the period — on their final shot of the frame — after Kip Brennan collected a Tobias Whelan rebound on the doorstep and slid it past Colorado’s All-Star goalie.
The Eagles used two power plays in the second half of the first period to control much of the play, and with just 4.2 seconds left in frame they converted on their second man-advantage chance to get on the scoreboard before intermission. On the goal, Kyle Peto held the puck in at the left point and threw it on net where Steve Haddon collected the rebound on the doorstep and backhanded a shot past LeMay’s left leg.
Colorado carried momentum into the early part of the second period, and at 4:24, Riley Nelson cut Allen’s lead to 3-2. On the play, Brett Thurston’s lead pass just missed the Eagles’ captain and slid toward LeMay’s net. As the goalie reached out to freeze the puck to the left of the crease, Nelson — who never quit on the play — thrust his stick at the puck and was able to knock it under the netminder and just across the goal line.
Just under a minute later, Colorado had a tying goal waived off when a quick whistle from Dan Dreger negated a Dylan Stanley score on another botched freeze by LeMay. Instead, it was Allen that got the next goal, making it 4-2 at 8:59 on a great individual play by Judd Blackwater. Blackwater stickhandled through the Eagles’ zone and sent a late backdoor pass to Jarret Lukin for an easy tap-in.
The Eagles again came out strong to start the third, before a late surge by the Americans put the game out of reach. At 14:04, Whelan made it 5-2 after Yellow Horn came down the left wing and sent the puck on net from the midboards for a deflection from in close. And at 15:40 Dave Bonk made it 6-2 by one-timing an across-the-grain feed from Lukin inside the right circle.
Just 29 seconds later, Daymen Rycroft tied Kevin Ulanski for the team lead in goals with a rocket off a faceoff win in the left circle of the offensive zone. But it was too little, too late for the Eagles who remain in fourth place — just three points behind first-place Bloomington — in the Turner Conference.
* Special Note * – Saturday night’s game against the Mudbugs is a rare 8:05 start for a Colorado home game (one hour later than usual).
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