Colorado to Face Bossier-Shreveport Starting Friday at BEC
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Colorado Eagles defeated the defending CHL champion Rapid City Rush in the deciding Game 7 of the Turner Conference Finals, earning the Turner Conference championship and the right to face the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals.
In a game that featured two extremely evenly-matched rivals — Colorado and Rapid City ended the regular season with identical records — Colorado captain Riley Nelson scored the game’s only goal with under two minutes left in the game and All-Star goaltender Kyle Jones posted his first shutout of the playoffs with an incredible 32-save effort.
Energized by their home crowd, the Rush carried much of the play during the first frame. Aided by both of the period’s power plays, Rapid City threw 18 shots on net, but Jones stopped them all — several in spectacular fashion. Colorado got their feet under them late in the session, throwing 12 total shots at Tim Boron, each of which were stopped as well.
Colorado produced a stronger effort in the second period, out-shooting the Rush 12-5 to own the overall advantage in shots after two periods. Along with more shots, the Eagles also had the better of the chances, capped by a late power play that was the only one awarded in the second stanza. But again, neither team could score, sending the game into the third period tied at 0.
The third period featured intense and exciting back-and-forth action that grew with the game’s tension as time ticked off the clock of the scoreless game. Jones was again the star of the show, robbing Derek LeBlanc and Ryan Menei on outstanding chances with under eight minutes and under three minutes left respectively.
Then, at 18:12, Daymen Rycroft took a shot from between the circles and Nelson, stationed at the right side of the crease, was able to put home the rebound and break the stalemate. The Rush tried frantically in the time remaining to even the score, even pulling Boron for an extra skater, but the Eagles buckled down to secure the win and advance to the fifth Presidents’ Cup Finals in the franchise’s history.
Following the customary handshake between the teams, CHL Director of Hockey Operations Jim Wiley, presented the Turner Conference Championship trophy to Nelson, who did not touch the trophy per hockey superstition.
Games 1 and 2 of the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals will be played at the Budweiser Events Center on Friday, May 13 & Saturday, May 14. A complete schedule can be found at www.ColoradoEagles.com.
Tickets for games at the Budweiser Events Center go on sale Thursday, May 12 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at www.ComcastTix.com or by calling 1-877-544-8499 (TIXX).