BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The Colorado Eagles snapped a franchise long-tying four game winless streak with a 6-3 victory over the Bakersfield Condors in the first of back-to-back meetings between the teams this weekend. Aaron Schneekloth scored twice for Colorado, including the game-winner, re-claiming his position as the ECHL’s leading scorer among defensemen.
The Eagles out-shot the Condors, 17-5, and out-scored them, 3-0, in the first period of play. Joey Sides, playing in his first game as an Eagle, scored the game’s opening goal on his first shot at 3:44. The goal came following a faceoff in the right circle of the offensive zone, when Sides beat the defense to a rebound in the low slot with a backhander past Matt Keetley.
Less than three minutes later, Adam Chorneyko made it 2-0 with a solid shift that saw him keep the puck in the offensive zone as he came off the bench, then saw him stuff home a Steve Haddon wraparound rebound from the doorstep.
At that point, the Eagles owned a 9-1 edge in shots, before Kyle Jones was really tested, but he’d respond in the second half of the period with several strong stops. And at 11:18, Ben Chiarot picked up his first goal as an Eagle after another Chorneyko steal in the offensive zone made its way to the rookie defenseman in the left circle for a 3-0 lead.
The Condors came out with a much better effort in the second period, out-shooting the Eagles during the first half of the frame — and scoring their first goal of the game — before Colorado countered with the help of a five minute power play.
Tyler Helfrich got Bakersfield on the board at 12:22 by taking advantage of a turnover in the Eagles’ end. But less than a minute and a half later, Schneekloth restored Colorado’s three-goal margin with a 4-on-4 goal as the defenseman circled the Condors’ cage like a shark in bloody water.
Then, at 17:18, the Eagles went up 5-1 with a power-play goal. On the play, Chiarot took a shot from the point which was poked free from under Keetley by Haddon. Riley Nelson then flipped the puck toward the net where it deflected off Haddon and in.
Bryan Pitton replaced Keetley to start the third period, and would go on to stop six of seven shots in his 20 minutes of work. Tyson Gimblett cut Colorado’s lead to 5-2 at 6:17 when Casey Pierro-Zabotel found him all alone in the high slot with a pass out of the right corner.
And nine minutes later, Kyle Calder made it 3-5 as he picked up a rebound crashing the net and was able to tuck it inside the right post. But just 18 seconds later, Schneekloth would counter for the second time on the night, exchanging passes with Chiarot along the blue line before blasting a point shot past Pitton to account for the final goal of the game.