LOVELAND, Colo. – The Ontario Reign defeated the Colorado Eagles, 6-2, to take both games of a weekend set at the Budweiser Events Center. Jean-Francois Berube picked up his first win of the season, while Chris Carrozzi suffered the loss in his first start of the year in his first game with the Eagles.
The Eagles got off to a blazing start. Chad Costello opened the scoring just 1:16 in when his shot from low in the right circle beat Berube, 5-hole, just making it over the goal line. It was part of a strong opening push that saw Colorado dominate the first eight minutes of the game.
After that, however, Ontario claimed the game’s momentum. At 16:09, Aaron Schneekloth pinched down the right wing boards and it allowed the Reign to take a 2-on-1 rush that saw Matt Tassone beat Carrozzi to tie the game. The Reign controlled play largely by blocking shots, holding the Eagles without one for nearly the entire second half of the first frame — including a late power play opportunity.
But Colorado finally broke through, registering three shots in the final 15 seconds, including one with under a second left that gave them a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. On the play, the Eagles won a late faceoff in the right circle and Adam Chorneyko blasted the puck past Berube.
Despite the late first period goal, Ontario continued to carry momentum in the second stanza, scoring all three of the period’s goals and blocking several shots on the way to out-shooting the Eagles 13-7. At 5:46, Tassone tied the game for a second time when his shot from the high slot beat Carrozzi 5-hole.
Midway through the frame, Ontario took their first lead of the game when Geoff Irwin threw the puck on net from a sharp angle along the left boards. The puck was stuck between Carrozzi’s right pad and the post until C. J. Stretch skated by and poked it over the goal line.
Then, at 14:18, Irwin made it 4-2 by converting on a 3-on-2 Ontario rush. The Eagles put out the fire thereafter, killing a five minute major penalty against to keep the score 4-2 heading into the third period.
Colorado was awarded two power plays in the first half of the final frame, but both proved fruitless. And at 14:20, Ontario made it 5-2 when Vincent LoVerde’s shot from the point was kicked out right to the stick of Derek Couture below the left circle. And with just 45 seconds left, Francois Brisebois put home the game’s final goal by chipping the puck past Carrozzi from the low slot.
The Eagles’ next game will come Wednesday night in their first meeting against the Utah Grizzlies. The game — which is the team’s annual Military Appreciation Night game — will be broadcast on Altitude Sports & Entertainment.