Eagles acquire home ice advantage with 6-3 win over Reign


LOVELAND, Colo. — The fight for home ice advantage continues to prove to be a tough one. Last night, the Colorado Eagles fell to the Ontario Reign 7–3.

In today’s matinee, the Eagles scored in every period to gain home ice for the first round of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Eagles defeated the Reign 6–3 and will face the Abbotsford Canucks at home next week starting on Wednesday.

First period

“We handled some of their pressures a lot better tonight than we did last night,” head coach Aaron Schneekloth said. “The big thing is, we’re disciplined.”

A minute into the first, the Eagles proved they were here to fight for home ice. Eagles’ Jack Ahcan notched his sixth goal of the season from behind the goal line. Peter Holland and Corey Schueneman assisted Ahcan.

From the right-wing circle, Francesco Pinelli put his one-timer shot just behind Ivan Prosvetov. Alex Turcotte, who achieved a hat trick in last night’s contest, and Taylor Ward assisted him.


Nikolai Kovalenko picked up his first goal as an Eagle not long after giving Colorado a 2–1 lead. Wrapping around the goal, Tanner Kero gave him the assist.


Just minutes later and in a completely different game from last night, Riley Tufte scored his first goal of the night. He had help from Ahcan and Cal Burke on the delayed penalty.

“We felt we could put any line out there against anyone tonight. [The] players had the urgency to get a second boost of confidence,” Schneekloth said.

With a one-man advantage, Tufte was able to gain another goal, bringing his season total to 23. Kovalenko picked up his second assist as an Eagle, after attaining one last night. Sam Malinski also received credit for an assist.


“I think everyone was pretty dialed tonight,” Tufte says. “Just knowing what’s at stake. We get to stay at home for a week instead of going away for a week.”

Second period

Peter Holland secured his 14th goal of the regular season from a rebound on the remaining power play 36 seconds in. Malinski and Jean-Luc Foudy both collected a point on the play.

The second frame continued with minimal stoppage. Until Jacob Doty from Ontario slammed a wrist shot past Prosvetov from Steven Santini and Nikita Pavlychev.

To round out the period for the Reign, Martin Chromiak made it 5–3. Former Eagle Charles Hudon, who had been out for three weeks with an upper-body injury, assisted Martin Chromiak in making it 5–3. Santini also picked up another assist.


Third period

To continue the quick period opening trend, Spencer Smallman lit the lamp 1:41 into the final period. Burke and Schueneman both picked up another assist.


The 2024 Calder Cup schedule has been set. With this win, the Colorado Eagles will host the Abbotsford Canucks at Blue Arena on Wednesday and Friday. The series is the best two of three. So, the Eagles will host a third game on Sunday afternoon if necessary.

When asked about the one word the team would take into the playoffs, Schneekloth said, “Quickness. I feel like when we’re playing quick in all three zones, we’re playing our best and you’re gonna have to play quick against this Abbotsford team.”

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