Eagles can’t solve the Wallstedt mystery


LOVELAND, Colo. — The Colorado Eagles played one of their worst games on Friday and wanted to split the weekend. Unfortunately, the Iowa Wild were skating with a ton of confidence in front of goaltender Jesper Wallstedt. It appeared to be the opposite of the Eagles in front of Trent Miner. The biggest issue in the game for the Eagles? They could not solve Wallstedt. Saturday night’s 3–2 loss against the Iowa Wild summarized in quick hits.

Quick hits

— Colorado improved in the passing game on Saturday. This enabled the setup of big plays on the points and along the blue line. Shots rained down from the point and the high slot, but the Wild were doing an excellent job blocking them.

— Wallstedt is going to be the Minnesota Wild’s goalie of the future, plain and simple. Wallstedt maintains composure in the net and never looks frazzled at all. He can knock down the shots and quickly eliminate the second chance for the opposing team. He may not eat the puck up, but he can land on it pretty quick. His .937 save percentage through 12 games leads the AHL. Because of the good health of the goalies in Minneapolis, he has not played in the NHL. When he gets to the show, he will be ready for sure.

“You can just tell he’s positionally sound, and we’ll try to get him after New Year’s again,” Nathan Clurman said. “But it was an impressive weekend for him, for sure.”

“We were engaged,” head coach Aaron Schneekloth said. “We had every single player that put a jersey on tonight, work and compete. So unfortunate that we ran into an elite goaltender tonight and that’s something for our team to build off for sure.”

— Despite their previous success, the penalty kill surrendered two goals. This once again made the difference in the game. On Friday, the Eagles could only kill two out of four of the penalties. On Saturday, they killed four of six. An improvement, yes, but discipline became an issue on Saturday and it cost them the game.

“I thought the PK was outstanding,” Schneekloth said. “Tonight, regardless of the goals, I thought our structure was there. I thought our commitment was there. The 5-on-3 I felt really gave us some life and some momentum. They did a great job killing it.”


The Eagles will meet the Tucson Roadrunners next weekend for a Pacific Division battle. Tucson currently sits five points ahead of the Eagles in the division. These games are extremely hard fought (literally), with lots of penalty minutes to go long with it. Colorado will encounter the obstacle of Matthew Villalta in net. Historically, he excelled against the Eagles while playing for the Ontario Reign, and his current stats are outstanding. Colorado must give it their all and hope for the best against him.

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