PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The Colorado Eagles battled back again and again — and again — to earn a 6-4 win against the Arizona Sundogs. The victory, Colorado’s third in a row, kept the Eagles in a first place tie in the tight Turner Conference. They’ll wrap up their season-long, seven-game road trip Sunday afternoon with their third game in as many days in Arizona.
Arizona started strong with the opening goal two minutes in. The Eagles suffered a defensive breakdown in their own zone, allowing Joey Sides to walk in on Kyle Jones from the right dot and beat him top shelf. But at 10:26, Colorado tied the game when Kevin Ulanski beat Doug Groenestege from the right dot. In a statistical oddity, there were 46 penalty minutes in the first frame, but not a single power play.
The second period saw five combined goals and 16 shots per team. Karl Sellan made it 2-1 for the ‘Dogs at 5:14 after collecting the puck along the left wing in the neutral zone, skating in on Jones and converting from the left faceoff dot. Just over two and a half minutes later, Kyle Hood was denied on a short-handed breakaway, but put Arizona up by two nonetheless with a great move on a questionable penalty shot ruling.
Colorado countered with a pair of their own goals, the second coming while short-handed as well. The first came at 11:03 when Ulanski sent a backhand pass from the right wing into the slot where Adam Chorneyko beat Groenestege from in close. And at 16:18 — after an Arizona player fell down at the left point — Steve Haddon and Aaron Schneekloth converted an odd-man rush to tie the game at 3. But four seconds after that Arizona power play expired, Billy Bezeau put the Sundogs back on top when Sides found him with a cross-slot pass, making it 4-3 heading into the second intermission.
The Eagles tied the game back up at 4 at 1:43 of the third period when former Sundog Matt Hanson picked up his first goal as an Eagle with a shot from the point. With five minutes left in the third, Arizona nearly got another short-handed goal to take the lead for a fourth time, but Sides was stopped by Jones on a 2-on-0 breakaway.
The All-Star netminder’s teammates would make that save even more important moments later when, with the teams skating 4-on-4, Riley Nelson gave the Eagles their first lead of the night by swooping past the right side of the crease to put home a Schneekloth rebound after the defenseman unloaded a shot from the slot. Nelson would set up Daymen Rycroft for an empty-net goal with 39.5 seconds left in the game to ice the contest.