Eagles Get Into Penalty Trouble in 6-1 Loss at Utah
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah. – In what could end up being an opening round playoff match-up, the Colorado Eagles fell to the Utah Grizzlies, 6-1, in a feisty affair that saw 77 penalty minutes doled out by referee Mike McBain. Utah blew the game open by scoring five unanswered goals, three on the power play, two of which came on 5-on-3 advantages.
The teams skated to a scoreless first frame, with Kyle Jones stopping 11 shots and Andrew Engelage stopping eight. Colorado killed three Utah power plays in the period, while carrying their first man-advantage of the game into the second stanza.
Utah opened the scoring 2:50 into the second period following an extended shift in Colorado’s zone that saw John Armstrong poke home a rebound from the low slot. But the Eagles countered just over six minutes in when Joey Sides put home a similar goal, collecting a Kyle Peto rebound in the slot and tossing it into the net.
But Colorado continued to get itself into penalty trouble and the Grizzlies made them pay by tallying a pair of power-play goals — the second a 5-on-3 marker — before the second intermission. Colin Vock deflected a cross-ice pass under Jones from between the circles midway through the second frame, and Ryan Turek one-timed a shot home with just over a minute left in the period to make it 3-1 heading into the second break.
Over half of the game’s penalty minutes (39) were assessed in the final frame as the bad blood between the teams boiled over. Utah made it 4-1 just 1:17 into the third when Paul McIlveen tossed the puck toward the net from the left point and it was deflected past Jones through traffic in the low slot.
Midway through the period the Grizzlies were awarded a full two-man advantage in the middle of a five minute power play and McIlveen made it 5-1 by tossing home a loose puck from the left side of the net after a scramble in the low slot that resulted in a bevy of chances for the home team. And four minutes later, Gaelan Patterson added Utah’s fifth unanswered goal by pouncing on a loose puck in the crease to account for the game’s final marker.
The Eagles went 2-2-0 on their four-game road trip that saw them play in three different cities in a five day span. They will play their final two regular season home games Tuesday & Wednesday against the Ontario Reign before finishing the regular season with a pair of games next weekend in Las Vegas. The 2012 ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs will begin the first week of April.