Eagles split the series against the Admirals

  

The last time the Colorado Eagles faced the Milwaukee Admirals was in October, only two weeks into the season, and before anybody knew what kind of year the Admirals were going to have. Now, more than four months later, the most memorable part of that series isn’t the hockey – It’s the moment A.J. Greer got in a fight, went to the penalty box, then left the box to start a second fight, earning a total of 40 penalty minutes and a six-game suspension.

Both games were hard-fought matches, all the way to the end. The Eagles won the first game in a shootout and the second game in overtime.

More than four months later, the Admirals visited Loveland for back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. The Admirals currently lead the AHL in points and point percentage. They also have the league’s top power play at 26.3% and are ranked fifth in the league on the penalty kill. Their goalies, Connor Ingram and Troy Grosenick, are ranked third and sixth in the AHL, respectively. Ingram came into Saturday’s game with a 1.98 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

The Eagles knew they were in for a battle.

Saturday

Lineup:

The Eagles went into the game missing three key players — Logan O’Connor and Martin Kaut due to call-ups, and Michael Joly for unknown reasons.

Ryan Wagner – T.J. Tynan – Erik Condra
Sheldon Dries – Jayson Megna – Griffen Molino
AJ Greer – Julien Nantel – Shane Bowers
Tim McGauley – Igor Shvyrev – Colin Campbell

Anton Lindholm – Jacob MacDonald
Kevin Connauton – Connor Timmins
Dan Renouf – Mark Alt

Adam Werner

Game:

The Eagles came out flat in the first period, and it cost them. At 6:48, Lukas Craggs put one in the net. Two and a half minutes later, Eeli Tolvanen scored. Less than six minutes later, it was Yakov Trenin’s turn. With less than five minutes left in the first, the Eagles found themselves being badly outshot and down by three points.

But the Eagles have been here before. Just last week, they were down 0–4 against the Bakersfield Condors and came back to win the game 5–4. Could they do it again?

At first, it looked like it could happen. At 17:13 of the first period, Griffen Molino scored his first goal as an Eagle.

Only 48 seconds into the second period, Milwaukee’s Jeremy Davies was called for slashing, giving the Eagles their first power play of the night. It only took Jacob MacDonald nine seconds to score his fifteenth goal of the season.

Suddenly, the Eagles were down by only one goal with 39 minutes left to play.

After being outshot 13–9 in the first, the Eagles turned the tables on the Admirals, putting up 17 shots to the Admirals’ seven. They dominated the second period. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get anything past Ingram. Then, less than three minutes before the second intermission, Tom Novak scored on a breakaway.

The Eagles continued to fight hard, outshooting the Admirals 10–7 in the third, but it was too little, too late. Final shots on goal were 36–27 Eagles.

Sunday

Lineup:

In addition to the players missing on Saturday night, the Eagles went into Sunday’s game without Jayson Megna and Anton Lindholm.

AJ Greer – Sheldon Dries – Shane Bowers
Ryan Wagner – TJ Tynan – Erik Condra
Griffen Molino – Julien Nantel – Colin Campbell
Tim McGauley – Igor Shvyrev – Josh Dickinson

Dan Renouf – Mark Alt
Kevin Connauton – Connor Timmins
Peter Tischke – Jacob MacDonald

Hunter Miska

Game:

This game was the opposite of Saturday’s in many ways. The Eagles came out strong, controlling the puck much better than the night before. Five minutes into the first, Ryan Wagner scored.

Thirteen minutes later, he scored a powerplay goal, putting the Eagles up 2–0 going into the first intermission.

The last half of the first period and the first half of the second were full of shoving, chirping, and fighting, resulting in a total of 38 penalty minutes before the second intermission. Milwaukee scored at 7:20 in the second, bringing them within one.

The last half of the game was all about Hunter Miska. The Milwaukee Admirals had 19 shots on goal in the second and 18 in the third, forcing Miska to make some spectacular saves. The Eagles scored once in the second, only to have the goal waved off due to incidental goalie contact.

A few minutes later, they had another ping off the post.

The fast and furious play continued into the third until 18:03, when Sheldon Dries scored, giving the Eagles a bit of insurance. Milwaukee pulled their goalie, but the Eagles held strong to secure their third win of the season against the number one team in the league.

Takeaways

  • The Eagles were 2/10 on the powerplay this weekend against one of the top-rated penalty kill units in the league. A great deal of this can be credited to Conor Timmins, who is fabulous at quarterbacking the power play.
  • Despite being ranked first in the league on the power play, the Admirals went 0/7 on the man advantage.
  • The Admirals tried to goad Eagles players into fights several times on Saturday. Greer made up for past indiscretions by skating away, earning the Eagles a powerplay. Later in the game, Lindholm did the same thing, earning a 4-minute power play. Unfortunately, this ended up being negated. But the Eagles’ discipline and restraint worked in their favor on Saturday. Not so much on Sunday, when they began pushing back.
  • Hunter Miska was amazing in net, stopping 48 of 49 shots and earning the first star of the game.
  • The Eagles had several call-ups from the Utah Grizzlies in the lineup, and they were all fantastic, proving just how deep the organization is.
  • The Eagles are now 3–1–0–0 against the top team in the AHL.
  • Team Captain Mark Alt‘s daughter won the baby races at intermission. I’m sure he’s a very proud daddy.

What’s up next?

The Pacific Division is the most tightly contested division in the league. The Eagles currently sit in second place, but the Stockton Heat, the Ontario Reign, and the San Diego Gulls are all less than three points behind them. The Eagles have 16 games left to play this season, and ten of those games are against either Tucson, Stockton, Ontario, or San Diego. They’ll host Ontario next weekend.

Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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    Marie Sexton
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    The last time the Colorado Eagles faced the Milwaukee Admirals was in October, only two weeks into the season, and before anybody knew what kind of ye
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