Big First Period Propels Colorado to 5-3 Win over Steelheads
LOVELAND, CO. - The Colorado Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period of play in a 5-3 victory over the Idaho Steelheads on Friday. Michael Joly, Collin Bowman and J.C. Beaudin all posted three-point nights in the win, the Eagles 30th victory of the season.
Colorado raced to an early lead when forward Ben Storm swatted a rebound in the crease out of midair and into the back of the net to give the Eagles the 1-0 edge just 2:18 into the contest. Less than three minutes later Colorado would again seize on an opportunity when forward Ryan Harrison snapped a rebound past Idaho goalie Ryan Faragher from the left circle to put the Eagles up 2-0.
Later in the first period, Colorado would force a turnover in the Steelheads zone to set up forward Drayson Bowman to light the lamp with a wrist shot from the slot to stretch the Eagles advantage to 3-0 at the 13:41 mark of the opening period of play.
Idaho would get on the board 51 seconds into the second period when forward Will Merchant bashed a centering pass into the net from the top of the crease to trim Colorado's lead to 3-1.
Eagles forward Michael Joly would answer back midway through the period when he raced down the right wing before slicing through the low slot and feeding the puck between the legs of Faragher to put Colorado up 4-1 at the 9:03 mark of the middle frame.
Play would come to a halt just minutes after the Joly tally when Eagles goalie Joe Cannata was shaken up and forced to exit the game with an injury.
With Sam Brittain now pressed into action in goal, Idaho would strike back with a deflection in front of the net off the tape of Merchant that would light the lamp and cut Colorado's edge to 4-2 with 8:14 remaining in the second period.
Moving into the final 20 minutes, Idaho would inch its way closer when forward Henrik Samuelsson flipped a loose puck in the low slot over the shoulder of Brittain to slice the Eagles lead to 4-3 with 11:01 left in the game.
Later in the third period, Colorado would find itself on a 5-on-3 power play and Joly would sweep a wrister from the right circle past Faragher to put the Eagles up 5-3 at the 13:16 mark of the final frame. The goal was Joly's league-leading 32nd goal of the season and now gives the 22 year-old 32 goals in 33 games with Colorado this season.
The Steelheads would pull Faragher in favor of the extra attacker, but Brittain and company would stand strong to secure the 5-3 victory.
Colorado finished the evening going 2-for-7 on the power play, while also going a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill. Cannata finished the evening making 18 saves on 19 shots, while Brittain turned aside 11 of the 13 shots he faced in the winning effort.
The Eagles conclude their three-game series against the Idaho Steelheads on Saturday, January 27th at 7:05pm MT at the Budweiser Events Center.
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