Colorado Eagles season ends in emotional overtime loss


LOVELAND, Colo. — In Colorado Eagles playoff history, the organization has never faced an elimination game in the first round. Despite a noble overtime comeback goal from Brad Hunt on Friday, it was do or die time for the roster. In an emotional last outing, the Eagles fell short.

The Abbotsford Canucks posed a challenge for the Eagles in their upcoming match. In the regular season, the Eagles were 4–2–2–0. They had already faced a 4–2 playoff loss on April 24.

The game was a series of “almost” for the first two periods of play. After the Abbotsford Canucks found the back of the net at the 14-minute mark of the first period, it was going to be a challenge for the Eagles to equalize. Colorado put up 26 shots in the first 40 minutes of play yet came up empty.

Despite goaltender Ivan Prosvetov coming up big to keep the team within reach, opposing netminder Zach Sawchenko kept the onslaught of shots at bay. Prosvetov’s coolness in the net was encouraging to see. With a locked in goaltender, the team could go to work offensively.

Colorado’s frustration shined in several situations, forcing Prosvetov to bail them out. The second frame was full of pushing and shoving, nearly costing them a goal with a loose puck in play.

No matter what the Eagles did, the end seemed inevitable. Prosvetov’s penalty for interference allowed the Eagles to exploit the mistake. After 57 minutes of play, Sam Malinski accomplished what seemed like the impossible and found the back of the net.

It took 42 shots, but the Eagles forced their second straight overtime game. Holding strong for nine minutes, the Eagles took it. After several battles in front of the net, Sawchenko proved to be the star of the show.

Canucks player Chase Wouters got the go-ahead goal for Abbotsford with puck luck to finish it. Wouters had a lucky deflection off of his stick and closed out the game and the Colorado Eagles season ends with a 2–1 loss.

“It’s probably the worst way you can lose and probably the best way you can win,” defenseman Brad Hunt said. “I mean, It’s a roller coaster and we’re at the bottom.”

The key word in the last bout against Abbotsford was “almost.” In several scenarios, the Eagles almost put the puck in the back of the net. It was truly a game of chances and near misses.

Despite a season ending performance, head coach Aaron Schneekloth had insight and pride from the team’s performance.

“I mean, you get into an elimination game and overtime, and somebody’s got to be the hero, or you have a whole team full of disappointed players,” he said. “Look at the division we play in. All of those teams are capable of making a deep playoff run, and we were one of them. It’s unfortunate that two of these games go into overtime and we lose the second one.”

Abbotsford will now move onto the second round and take on the Ontario Reign.

About Savvy Rafkin

Savvy is a recent Journalism and Media Communication graduate from Colorado State University. She spent most of her life playing softball and being surrounded by sports. As she entered college, she found her passion for sports writing and joined the Colorado State University Athletic Communications team. Later, she became a beat reporter for high school sports in northern Colorado.


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