LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Colorado Eagles scored four goals in the final period to claim a come-from-behind, 5-3, win in their first trip to Las Vegas. Jack Combs notched the game-winner with a shorthanded tally, and Kyle Jones stopped 38 shots in the victory. The teams will play again Friday night in the second half of their week-ending set.
Colorado out-shot Las Vegas 15-11 in the first period, carrying much of the play, but the Wranglers were able to capitalize on their chances, while Joe Fallon snuffed every Eagles opportunity.
Las Vegas opened the scoring at 7:37 with a 4-on-3 power-play goal when Adam Miller knocked the puck into the net out of mid-air from the left side of the crease. The Wranglers went up 2-0 at 10:54, when Eric Lampe snared a Colorado turnover in the slot and put it past Jones as he was crashing the crease. The Eagles had a pair of power plays late in the opening frame, but came up empty on both.
The play evened out in the second period, and the Eagles would get a late goal from their leader to gain some momentum heading into the third frame. At 18:20, Aaron Schneekloth pinched down the right wing and made a power move toward the net. Although his shot was denied, Riley Nelson was able to put home the rebound from the doorstep, giving the Eagles’ captain his first goal in the ECHL.
Any momentum Colorado gained from Nelson’s goal seemed to be squashed just 51 seconds into the third period when Ryan Weston picked off a pass in his own zone, raced down the right wing boards and beat Jones on a breakaway to give the Wranglers a 3-1 lead.
But the Eagles kept fighting and got that goal back at 10:24 on the power play. On the play, Akim Aliu carried the puck down the slot and sent a pass to Michael Forney in the left circle, Forney then sent a cross-crease feed to Chad Costello for a tic-tac-toe tally.
Just under a minute and a half later, Colorado tied the game at 3 when Jake Marto’s shot from atop the left circle was deflected by Patrick Knowlton on the doorstep, giving the Colorado Springs, Colo. native his first professional goal.
With the game tied, it looked like Las Vegas might still pull out the victory when they were awarded a power play at 14:04 of the third. But the game kept moving in Colorado’s favor as Jack Combs scored a shorthanded goal at 15:12 to give the Eagles their first lead of the game.
The tally came after Combs won a faceoff in the right circle of the offensive zone, sending the puck back to Jon Landry. The rebound from Landry’s point shot was kicked right back out into the slot where Combs quickly deposited it past Fallon.
The Wranglers kept coming, however, and forced the Eagles to withstand a late surge. But with time ticking off the clock, Aliu netted his first goal as an Eagle into an empty net to account for the game’s final margin.