Despite a 4–3 overtime loss to the Manitoba Moose on Saturday, the Colorado Eagles managed to mount a comeback game to keep their point streak alive. The Eagles came into the game with the best active win streak in the AHL, sitting at eight, and left it with a point streak of 11.
The game went scoreless through the first period, with both teams unable to capitalize on several good chances. The goalies both stood strong as play bounced between ends of the ice. Unlike the last game, the Eagles came out firing offensively in the first, leading in shots on goal. The defense was a different question, as they were unable to keep the puck in the Moose’s end for any consistent amount of time. The Eagles failed to convert on the first power play of the game, 14:04 into the first.
The Moose struck first at 5:17 in the second, a power play goal just 10 seconds into the penalty, when Andrei Chibisov chipped one past Adam Werner. The Moose tallied their second goal just three minutes later, with Brent Pedersen picking up the goal. Facing the two-goal deficit, A.J. Greer netted a nice rebound to get the Eagles on the board at 10:00, with Shane Bowers and Calle Rosen picking up the assists.
— Colorado Eagles (@ColoradoEagles) January 5, 2020
Kristian Vesalainen sent the Moose up 3–1 early in the third. Michael Joly then brought the score to 3–2 on the power play for the Eagles and Erik Condra netted the game-tying goal at 14:55. The third period seemed to be a lesson in not taking the foot off of the gas, as a late offensive push managed to net the team a point in the standings after a lackluster start to the game.
The Moose dominated possession and shots in overtime and Seth Griffith finally sealed the Moose win two minutes in.
The Eagles have been missing two important pieces of the team with both Conor Timmins and Kevin Connauton out of the lineup. Those missing pieces were evident in this loss. Timmins and Connauton both bring an important presence to the blue line while also contributing offensively. Looking forward, the team needs to learn the all-important lesson of working through key injuries as a team and finding ways to chip in as a unit.
Though this game was ultimately a loss, the Eagles’ game was improved in some ways compared to the last game against the Moose. The Eagles came out firing in the first period and managed to generate good chances, though they did not capitalize on them. Werner was a bit leakier in this game, but he also suffered from the team’s somewhat lacking defensive performance. Though it is always nice to have consistently spectacular performances from the goalie, his 30-save shutout the game before may have made the defense sit back a bit more than they should have.
The Eagles went one for three on the power play and two for three on the penalty kill. Improving the power play is going to go hand-in-hand with improving their offense, which will need to happen if they want to pick up a new win streak.
The Eagles play their next game at home on Friday against the Tuscon Roadrunners, who the Eagles beat twice on the road in December. The Eagles currently sit third in the Pacific Division with 40 points, five below the Stockton Heat and 11 below the Roadrunners.