LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles stopped their modest winless streak at three games with a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Sundogs. The ‘Dogs scored four power-play goals in the game, keeping them close despite the Eagles’ offensive output. Kevin Ulanski paced Colorado with five points (2-3-5), while Joey Sides recorded four for Arizona (2-2-4).
Both teams put up 17 shots in a wide-open first frame, but the Eagles converted on 29.4 percent of their shots against Levente Szuper, while Andrew Penner played confidently at the opposite end of the ice, deflecting shots into the corner and allowing no rebounds when necessary.
Ulanski got things started just 23 seconds in — on the Eagles’ first shot of the game — with a goal from the high slot that beat Szuper 5-hole. He then helped make it 2-0 less than a minute and a half later by picking up a loose puck at the left side of the net and slipping a pass to Scott May on the doorstep for a power-play marker.
At 8:50, Daymen Rycroft stretched Colorado’s lead to 3-0 with an absolute laser blasted from the left circle; the puck went top shelf and bounded out of the net nearly as quickly as it entered.
The Sundogs had a chance to slow the Eagles’ momentum midway through the first period when they were awarded over a minute of 5-on-3 play, but Colorado successfully killed the two-man advantage. The ‘Dogs, however, were able to score with 13 seconds left on the second penalty when Tyler Butler took a shot from the right point that Sides deflected past Penner from the doorstep.
But with Arizona working another power play a few minutes later, Riley Nelson stole the puck at the right point and raced to a breakaway score against Szuper from low in the left circle. And just as they started the period strongly, Colorado ended it as such by scoring with just 2.8 seconds left.
On the play, Dylan Stanley was sandwiched at the inside hash of the right circle, but was able to get enough on the puck for May to shoot the rebound from the slot. His shot was also deflected, but right to Steve Haddon to punch across the goal line, giving the Eagles a 5-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
Bobby Jarosz replaced Szuper in net to start the second period and seemed to settle the Sundogs with some solid saves. Each team sent 14 pucks on net in the middle frame, with the Sundogs owning a 3-1 advantage in goals — all on the power play.
Sides got his second goal of the game 5:37 into the second when Kyle Hood sent a slap-pass from the left point to the forward below the right circle. Colorado countered with a second power-play goal of their own at 9:21 when Ulanski sent a cross-ice pass to May for a one-timer and a 6-2 lead.
But the ‘Dogs added another pair of power-play goals before the second stanza came to a close. Jason Williams cut Colorado’s lead in half with a goal similar to May’s, getting a cross-ice feed from Billy Bezeau. And at 15:26, Sides found Luke Erickson with a pass from the left wing into the slot, where Erickson snapped a shot past Penner for Arizona’s fourth power-play goal of the game.
Ulanski got his second goal of the game — and what turned out to be the game-winner — 3:27 into the third period, one second after an Eagles power play expired. The goal came after a series of quick passes through the zone from Kyle Peto, to Nelson, to the league’s reigning MVP low in the left circle with the goaltender down-and-out.
Arizona kept coming, however, and got that goal back just over a minute later when a stumbling Jason Visser was somehow able to get off a low shot that beat Penner — the Sundogs’ first even strength goal of the evening. Ant at 7:59, Erickson picked up his second goal of the game to make it a really interesting 7-6 margin with plenty of time to go. Neither team could get another puck into the net, however, and the score would stay the same, even as the Sundogs pulled Jarosz for an extra attacker in the final minute.
The Eagles will have the next few days off before taking on the Rapid City Rush (in Rapid City) the day after Christmas.Print This Post