FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Colorado Eagles overcame a four-goal third period from the Fort Wayne Komets to take a 7-6 overtime win in the penultimate game of the regular season. With a win tomorrow night against the Komets, Colorado can secure the Turner Conference title and the respective #1 seed in the upcoming playoffs. The Eagles had six different goal scorers, with Aaron Schneekloth — fresh off the IR, and playing in his first game since March 1 — netting the game-winner.
Each team had 10 shots in the opening frame, but the Komets went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Colorado struck on their only man-advantage opportunity on the way to taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Kyle Jones — the league’s reigning Goaltender of the Week — continued his top-tier play with several strong stops in the stanza.
The red-hot Kevin Ulanski extended his point streak to eight games at 4:43 of the first when he got the game’s opening goal by putting home a Kyle Peto rebound that Kevin Reiter kicked out into the left circle. And at 10:41, the CHL’s reigning Player of the Week picked up another point by finding Daymen Rycroft for a power-play bomb from the top of the right circle.
Colorado went up 3-0 at 4:17 of the second period when Kip Workman took a shot from high along the right wing boards and Reiter kicked the rebound out to a wide open Alex Penner in the low slot. Fort Wayne finally got on the board under two minutes later after they stole the puck just outside the Eagles’ defensive zone and Sean O’Connor was able to beat Jones after two successive saves had the netminder down and out.
The Eagles made it 4-1 at 9:26 of the second when Steve Haddon put home a rebound from in front to make Colorado 2-for-2 on the power play. But O’Connor notched his second score of the period at 13:59 with a shot from the left faceoff dot, giving the Komets their first power-play goal of the game.
However, just 46 seconds later, Scott May got that goal back on an unassisted goal after he cruised down the middle of the ice and beat Reiter with a shot from the high slot. The puck fluttered off the netminder’s glove and rolled into the net, chasing him from the game for the second time in as many meetings against the Eagles (he stopped just 16 of 21 shots in 34:45 of work).
The Komets dominated the third period, out-shooting the Eagles 16-8, and showing continued resiliency. The home team struck for three goals in the first 10:02 of the third, erasing the Eagles’ lead to tie the game at 5.
At 3:47 of the third stanza, Dustin Molle took a shot from the left point that Derek Patrosso poked through the pads of Jones from the doorstep. The disc slid slowly to a stop prior to crossing the goal line before Colin Chaulk reached in to push it home. And just 21 seconds later, Artem Podshendyalov sent a cross-ice pass to Leo Thomas to trim Colorado’s lead to 5-4.
Then, at 10:02, Patrosso tied the game at 6 with a shot from just inside the blue line along the right wing as he skated into the offensive zone. Colorado re-took the lead at 12:45 when May scored a power-play goal (making Colorado 3-for-4 on the night) with a one-timer off a cross-slot pass from Rycroft. But just 20 seconds later, Thomas got his second goal of the period to knot things up at 7.
The game would enter overtime where matching minors left the teams skating 3-on-3 for much of the extra session. But just four seconds after the penalties expired, Schneekloth shoveled home a shot from the low slot to net the win for Colorado.
The two teams will close out their respective regular seasons Saturday night with a match-up at 5:30 (MST).