Eagles End Regular Season With Win
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - The Colorado Eagles ended the regular season with a 3-2 win over the Arizona Sundogs, in the third game in a row between the two teams. Ryan Tobler had a three-point night, capped off by scoring the game-winning goal. The victory was the 300th in the franchise's seven seasons and gave them a 2009-10 record of 42-15-7 (91 points).
The first period was littered with penalties just like the night before. But unlike Friday night, the Sundogs were unable to convert on their man-advantage chances, going 0-for-5 in the period. Instead, Arizona got the only goal of the frame when they struck with a shorthanded marker midway through the period.
The goal occurred as Jay Birnie was stepping out of the penalty box and back into the play, when Marc Belanger took the puck at the top of the left circle, cut through the slot and snapped it past Andrew Penner.
The Eagles turned things up in the second period, out-shooting the 'Dogs 21-4, with Riley Nelson scoring a pair to give the road team the lead heading into the third period. Just over three minutes in, Nelson took a drop-pass from Tobler in the high slot and swept a shot past Doug Groenestege to tie the game at 1.
That goal gave the Eagles' captain 92 points on the season, setting a new career high. And with just over three minutes left in the frame, Nelson kept adding to that total when he took another pass from Tobler and beat the Sundogs' goalie for a shorthanded tally to make it 2-1, Colorado, heading into the third.
Tobler capped off his big night with a goal of his own 7:18 into the final frame, by throwing home a rebound from in front of the net. But just over two minutes later, Belanger got his second goal of the evening with a power-play score from the left circle to keep the game close. Both goalies were forced to play strong the rest of the way, and each responded by doing just that; Penner stopped 11 of 12 shots in the period and Groenestege stopped 12 of 13.
The Eagles' next game will be Friday, March 26 at the Budweiser Events Center, when they open the Northern Conference Semifinals against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
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