BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Colorado Eagles fell, 3-5, to the Bloomington PrairieThunder in a battle for first place in the Turner Conference. The game was Colorado’s third in as many days as the Eagles are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season. Bloomington powered its way to the win by scoring three early goals on Andrew Penner, who was replaced with 5:45 left in the first frame.
The Prairie Thunder took a quick 1-0 lead just 54 seconds into the game as former Eagle Ryan McLeod made a pass from behind the net to Jon Booras in the high slot where he whizzed a shot past Penner. Midway through the period, after Colorado failed to take advantage of a 5-on-3 power play, All-Star Jason Dale put Bloomington up 2-0 with a wrist-shot from in close off an odd-man rush.
Travis Granbois increased Bloomington’s lead to 3-0 with a power-play blast from the left point at 14:15. Penner was replaced at that point by Kyle Jones after stopping just five of eight shots. Just under two minutes later, Colorado finally got on the board with their own power-play goal when Kevin Ulanski found Daymen Rycroft for a back-door goal past former Eagle Marco Emond.
The second period saw just one goal, but it was another man-advantage marker that put Bloomington up 4-1 heading into the final frame. At 17:35, Brodie Sheahan converted from the left side of the crease with a wrist shot.
Ulanski cut Bloomington’s lead in half (making it 2-4) 9:03 into the final frame as he deposited a pass from Aaron Schneekloth. Just five minutes later, after a strong save from Jones in his own end, Kyle Peto cut the PrairieThunder’s lead to 3-4 with a power-play goal from the doorstep.
But despite their best efforts in the third period — Colorado out-shot Bloomington 17-7 — it was too little, too late. And with just 33 seconds remaining in the game, Brett Holmberg took possession of the puck for a breakaway, empty-net goal, allowing Bloomington a 5-3 margin of victory.
Colorado will continue on its seven game road swing Tuesday night taking on the Tulsa Oilers. The Eagles’ next home game won’t come until Wednesday, February 2.