Nice Guys Finish First: Ulanski Leads Eagles to Win in Home Finale
LOVELAND, Colo. – Kevin Ulanski began the night being recognized as the ECHL’s Sportsmanship Award winner for the 2011-12 season, and he ended the night as the game’s first star after he helped carry the Colorado Eagles to a 3-1 win over the Ontario Reign in the team’s regular season home finale.
The teams skated to a scoreless opening period despite five combined power plays. The Reign owned possession of the puck for most of the first half of the frame, with the help of two power plays, while the Eagles countered by using a pair of their own power plays in the second half to control much of the final 10 minutes of play.
The penalty parade continued in the second period as the Reign had a 6:1 advantage in power plays. They used one of those chances to score the period’s only goal at 13:49 when Kyle Kraemer found defenseman Vincent LoVerde crashing the slot.
Kyle Jones, who made big saves all night and kept the Eagles in the game, continued to make strong stops in the third period, helping propel Colorado to the win as they scored three unanswered goals in the final frame.
Ulanski got the home team on the board at 8:32, tying the game when he put home his own rebound from the slot. At 12:10, Aaron Schneekloth put Colorado on top with a power-play goal when he circled around an Ontario defender and snuck a shot past Jean-Francois Berube from the right side of the net. And less than two minutes later, Ulanski capped off the scoring with a breakaway goal he slipped 5-hole past the Reign goalie — giving the Eagles three goals in a span of four shots.
Colorado will wrap up their first regular season in the ECHL with a pair of games Friday & Saturday in Las Vegas. They will then begin their first run at the ECHL’s Kelly Cup with a pair of road games in the best-of-5 opening round against a still yet-to-be-determined opponent. They’ll return to the Budweiser Events Center for Game 3 of the series on Friday, April 6. If Games 4 & 5 are necessary to determine the series winner, they will be played in Colorado on April 7 & 9 respectively.