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Blair Stops 54 to lead Colorado 4-2 over Lubbock

February 18, 2006 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Lubbock Cotton Kings News Release

Lubbock, Tx - Colorado Eagles goaltender Jeff Blair made 54 saves and Riley Nelson contributed four points with a goal and three assists to lead the defending CHL Champion Eagles past the Lubbock Cotton Kings 4-2 Saturday night at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. The loss drops the Kings record to 19-22-3 and it extends their home winless streak to four games.

Lubbock came out flying in the opening period, grabbing 12 of the first 13 shots fired in the game and the hard work paid off. Josh Anderson converted a power play opportunity with a shot from the right circle that beat goaltender Jeff Blair with 7:03 remaining in the period for a 1-0 lead. The power play goal was Lubbock's first of the season tallied against the Eagles in 22 opportunities.

It was the Eagles coming out strong in the second period and their hard work in the period's opening led to a pair of goals. Jason Lundmark redirected a Garrett Larson pass through the legs of Kings goaltender Brad Buss 1:52 into the period to tie the game 1-1. Riley Nelson gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead without even knowing he scored a goal. 2:37 after Lundmark's goal, Greg Pankewicz fired a pass into the left slot from the left corner and the puck deflected off Nelson's skate and snuck past Buss for a power play tally. Lubbock tied the contest at 2-2 with their second power play goal of the game, as Stacey Bauman flung a shot from the left-point that found the net with 3:26 remaining in the frame. The game would not remain tied for long, as Eagles forward Nick Parillo redirected a shot from the point by Lundmark past Buss 1:51 later. Teams combined for 38 shots in the second period, with Lubbock out-shooting the Eagles 21-17 in the period.

Lubbock gave the Eagles their first regulation loss when leading after two periods of play in their previous meeting, but Blair made sure their would be no comeback tonight. The Kings out-shot the Eagles 17-4 in the final period, but Blair was there to make every stop. Larson gave the Eagles an insurance goal with 6:55 remaining with a power play tally for a 4-2 lead.

Blair's 54-save performance was the best single-game performance by a Kings opposing goaltender this season. Lubbock tied a season high with 56 shots, out-shooting the Eagles output of 31. Buss suffered the loss in net with 27 saves. Each team contributed a pair of power play goals, as Lubbock was 2 for 6 and the Eagles were 2 for 5.

Lubbock has no time to rest and prepare for their next contest, as the team boards the bus for an overnight trip to Bossier City, Louisiana, where the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs await a Sunday evening tilt at 5:05 PM inside the CenturyTel Center.

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