LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles fell again to the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, by an identical 4-3 score, in Game 2 of the Northern Conference Semifinals. The two teams continued to prove that they’re evenly matched as it was the fifth time in the past six playoff games between the two teams with that exact final score, and the 10th of 11 all-time decided by just one goal.
Opposite of Friday night, the Eagles dominated the first period shot total, out-shooting the Mudbugs 21-9. Unlike Friday night, however, John DeCaro was strong in the opening frame, stopping the first 18 shots thrown his way.
Unfortunately for Bossier-Shreveport — and its starting netminder — DeCaro left the game 13:55 in when he appeared to injure himself making a save on Jim Jackson’s power-play shot. Ken Carroll took his place between the pipes and let in the first shot he saw.
On the play, Kevin Ulanski’s shot was deflected by Ryan Tobler in the slot and right to a wide open Ed McGrane below the right circle. The regular season’s leading goal scorer flipped it into the net for a power-play tally and a 1-0 lead. But the ‘Bugs countered right back under a minute and a half later, when David Pszenyczny put home a Joe Ori rebound from the low slot to tie the game at 1.
Each team scored another goal in the second period to enter the third in a 2-2 tie. The Mudbugs’ took a 2-1 lead 6:19 in — on their first shot of the stanza — when Ori found Joe Blaznek with a pass through the left circle before the ‘Bugs’ Game 1 hero snapped a shot past Andrew Penner.
Ryan McLeod evened the score at 12:53 of the middle frame when his shot from atop the right circle deflected off a defenseman and past Carroll, where it laid in the crease before a pile-up pushed it over the goal line. Each goaltender came up with some great saves the remainder of the period to keep the score knotted heading into the third.
The Mudbugs scored again on their first shot of the third period after Blaznek worked the puck free along the right-wing boards and left a drop-pass for Brett Smith alone in the faceoff circle. Smith then snapped a shot over Penner’s shoulder to make it 3-2, ‘Bugs.
Colorado countered just over two minutes later when Tobler’s pass attempt to Riley Nelson across the low slot was broken up, and the puck went to Ulanski in the right circle. The league’s MVP blasted it into the net to tie the game back up at 3.
But at 6:12, Smith sent Ori on a big breakaway in which he had plenty of time to deke Penner with a backhand-forehand move before tucking the puck inside the left post. It was the fourth goal of the game for the Bossier-Shreveport line of Ori, Smith, and Blaznek.
Carroll made several big saves the rest of the way as the Eagles tried to tie the game up one more time. He stopped 14 of 15 shots in the final period as Colorado capped off its night of firing pucks on net (they out-shot the Mudbugs 47-23).
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played on Tuesday, March 30 in Bossier-Shreveport, LA. The Mudbugs lead the series, two-games-to-none.Print This Post