LOVELAND, Colo. – The Colorado Eagles & Utah Grizzlies played their second 5-4 shootout game in as many nights, with the Grizzlies claiming the victory the second time around. The back-and-forth contest was the third in as many evenings between the two teams battling for placing in the ECHL’s Mountain Division.
Colorado carried the majority of the play in the opening period, out-shooting Utah 14-6, but it was the Grizzlies that scored first. At 16:30, Kyle Jones scrambled out of position to the side of his net and got caught up on the left side, allowing Logan MacMillan to knock the puck in before the goalie could get back in position.
The Eagles were able to counter less than a minute later when Jack Combs grabbed the puck at the top of the left circle, spun, and threw the disc toward the Utah net. It made its way through traffic and past Shane Owen to tie the game at 1.
Colorado stretched its lead to 2-1 on its first shot of the second period when Jon Landry’s power-play blast from atop the right circle beat Owen’s glove. Utah, however, played a much stronger second period — out-shooting the Eagles 9-4 — and they countered less than a minute later when Paul McIlveen scored his fourth goal in two nights with a shot from the right circle that got under Jones and slowly slid over the goal line.
The Eagles went back on top with another power-play goal at 15:19 when Aaron Schneekloth’s shot from the point was deflected by Tommy Maxwell in the low slot (his first goal as an Eagle). But the Grizzlies quickly countered again when Mitch Fadden took a cross-crease feed from Matt Reber and made it 3-all with a power-play marker at 16:59.
Utah took a 4-3 lead at 11:28 of the third period when MacMillan sent a pass from below the goal line to Reber in the low slot. It looked like that lead might stand until Colorado knotted the score back up in the waning minutes with a 4-on-4 tally at 18:41. On the play, Chad Costello found Aaron Schneekloth with a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone. The defenseman then showed off some slick stick-handling in the low slot before putting the puck inside the far post.
Colorado would withstand a late power play for the Grizzlies that stretched into the eventual overtime period. But for the second night in a row, neither team could score in the extra session and the game went to a shootout.
The shootout saw a total of 14 shooters, and nearly ended after the fifth Utah contestant. Combs scored as the Eagles’ second shooter, and Jones stopped the first four Grizzlies in the best-of-five format. Jones appeared to stop Utah’s fifth shooter, Reber, but he somehow got the puck past the goaltender’s left pad along the goal line from an impossible angle. That goal extended the shootout in which MacMillan finalized as the 14th shooter.
The Eagles’ next three games will be in Idaho on Wednesday, Friday & Saturday.