ONTARIO, Calif. – The Colorado Eagles defeated the Ontario Reign, 6-4, in a back-and-forth affair to kick off a weekend set between the teams. Kevin Ulanski scored the game-winner and Chad Costello iced the contest with an empty-net tally as each player scored a pair of goals in the win.
Ontario got the game’s first goal on their first shot when Bill Bagron scored from atop the left circle on a shorthanded rush at 3:21. But just 27 seconds later, Costello (the league’s leading scorer) answered with an even strength tally when he beat Jean-Francois Berube from the left circle.
Riley Nelson put Colorado up, 2-1, 80 seconds after that before the Reign knotted the game up again on a controversial score late in the frame. At 18:03, Kevin Estrada put home a rebound from the paint on an Ontario power play, however, referee Nick Leduc had blown the play dead and waived off the goal before reversing his ruling.
Colorado took its first lead 5:17 into the second period after a turnover just outside Ontario’s zone. Liam Huculak sent Ulanski into the zone, and the veteran forward buried the puck from the low slot with a defenseman draped all over him. But the Reign were able to counter just 70 seconds later when Geoff Irwin found Kyle Kraemer with a pass up the slot for a shot into a gaping net.
The Eagles went back on top just two minutes into the final frame when Aaron Slattengren’s shot from the left wing deflected off a defender and past Berube. But the Reign would counter once more with a similar goal of their own when Tristan King’s backhanded pass into the crease went off Jake Marto’s blade at 14:41.
Then at 18:14, Ulanski stole an errant pass along the right wing mid-boards and swiftly beat the Ontario netminder for his fifth game-winning goal of the season — and the third in a row. And with time ticking down and Berube out of the Ontario net for an extra skater, Jason Beatty found Costello for an easy empty-netter to ice the contest.