Behrens makes pro debut in Eagles’ loss


LOVELAND, Colo. — In a game that the Colorado Eagles had to win in order to help themselves gain home ice, they just slipped into oblivion. The Ontario Reign took advantage of the fact that Colorado had six rookies in the lineup tonight. The veterans remaining in the lineup struggled to keep the puck on their stick and carry it into the zone. Goaltender Jacob Barczewski showed some obvious jitters in his pro debut. Just eight days after winning the NCAA National Championship, Sean Behrens also made his pro debut. Behrens also secured his first pro point as an assist. Here are my takeaways from the 7–3 loss to the Reign.


— Nikolai Kovalenko is getting more comfortable on North American ice and at altitude. He was taking a lot longer shifts tonight compared to the previous two games, showing that he was building a tolerance. Kovalenko was more than willing to dig into the corners and make plays along the walls as well. This tells me he is adjusting to the smaller ice surface (200×85 compared to 200×100). Previous games, Kovalenko was staying towards the center of the ice, away from the walls.

“It’s hard for me first when I come,” Kovalenko said. “So every time it was just like I just started training. I feel like I am in no condition, like I was on vacation for two months and I feel like, what the hell? But I keep training every time in the gym with the trainer and I will be better at every game.”

— Behrens was understandably hesitant during the first period of the game. But as time passed, you could see that he was getting more comfortable. He was playing in a new system and with a new defensive partner (Jack Ahcan), so I can’t blame him. Behrens may not want to admit it, but for the first period, there is no trust until you get to know your partner. Once that happened, he started throwing shots towards the net and even drove the net.

— Discipline killed the Eagles. Although they were weak calls in the first period, Ontario scored on two out of three of the power plays. The Reign would convert two more throughout the night as the penalty kill unit suffered. Not being penalized could have improved the Eagles’ chances of success.


The Eagles are now in a desperate state. They play their last game tomorrow and Abbotsford won tonight. As the standings sit at this moment, they are out-of-home ice. They MUST win in order to gain it back, or they will play the first round on the road. The veterans that are left need to take charge of the young players in the room and calm them down. Tomorrow at 3pm, they must win against Ontario one last time, it is a do-or-die situation.

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