LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles defeated the Utah Grizzlies, 7-2, as the two short-benched teams met for the third time in four days. The win — fueled in part by the first hat trick of Chad Costello’s career — marked the eight game in a row in which Colorado has earned a point. Michael Forney (2-1-3) & Adam Chorneyk0 (0-3-3) each had three-point nights as Costello’s linemates.
The Eagles owned the first period, out-shooting the Grizzlies 13-3 (tying the third-fewest shots the team has ever allowed in a period), and taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Kevin Ulanski picked up the game’s first goal at 5:48 on a power play by putting home a rebound after Aaron Schneekloth took a blast from the point. It took another two minutes before the Grizzlies finally registered their first shot on a goal.
Colorado scored their second goal of the game at 10:05 when Costello scored short-handed. The reigning ECHL Player of the Week stole the puck in his own zone, blew past Matt Reber, who had swiveled the wrong way in defense, and raced down the ice before beating Shane Owen with a nifty move.
Utah put up a much better effort in the second period — out-shooting Colorado 12-11 — but the Eagles were able to take a 5-2 lead into the third period after a segment of fast and furious scoring left them with a three-goal cushion heading into the third period.
The Grizzlies cut Colorado’s lead in half with a power-play tally just 3:08 into the second stanza. On the play, Bryan Cameron sent a pass from the left circle to Mitch Fadden in the right circle, and then put home his rebound from the crease after it slipped between Andrew Penner’s pads.
The Eagles countered with another power-play goal just over two minutes later. Luka Vidmar stretched to keep the puck in the offensive zone then shot it on net where it was deflected in by Liam Huculak on the doorstep. The Grizzlies countered right back a minute and a half later when Paul McIlveen sent a pass from the left circle that Jeff LoVecchio one-timed past Penner’s glove from the right hash marks.
And just over a minute and a half after that, Forney got the first of his two goals within 81 seconds. On the first, he skated down the right wing and lifted a saucer pass over a sliding defender to Costello. Costello’s shot was stopped by Owen, but Forney had followed the play and was able to put home the rebound from the doorstep.
Forney’s second goal came after Chorneyko picked up a loose puck at the right point of his defensive zone, skated down the ice and left a drop pass for Costello inside the offensive blue line. Costello then found Forney streaking through the right circle for another tally and a 5-2 lead.
Costello netted his second goal of the night at 1:47 of the third period by snapping a shot past Owen from the left circle. He then recorded the hat trick at 7:36 from a similar spot after Forney found him with a cross-ice pass following another Utah turnover.
The Eagles will play in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Bakersfield on Wednesday, then return home to play the Grizzlies again on Friday.