Eagles Outlast Tucson in 4-3 Shootout Victory
TUCSON, AZ. - Colorado Eagles forward Michael Joly scored a pair of goals, while fellow forward Logan O'Connor posted three assists in the Eagles 4-3 shootout win over the Tucson Roadrunners 4-3 on Friday. Goaltender Pavel Francouz earned his 26th win of the season, stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced and shutting down all three of the Roadrunners shooters in the shootout. The win now puts Colorado five points ahead of Tucson for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
The Roadrunners would waste little time in generating the game's first goal, as forward Nick Merkley would snag a turnover at the side of the net and smack the puck home to give Tucson a 1-0 edge just 1:24 into the contest. The Roadrunners earned an opportunity to stretch the lead when forward Michael Bunting was awarded a penalty shot at the 6:30 mark of the period, but Francouz would cut down the angle and force the shot wide. The first period saw Tucson outshoot Colorado 13-9, as the Eagles were held 0-for-2 on the power play in the opening 20 minutes.
Trailing 1-0 after one period, Colorado would storm back in the second frame, as Joly would take advantage of a 2-on-1 rush with a shot from the left circle that would beat Tucson goalie Adin Hill and tie the game at 1-1 at the 7:42 mark of the period. As time ticked down in the second period and with the Eagles facing a penalty kill, forward Dominic Toninato would collect a pass in his own zone and fly down the ice before besting Hill and giving Colorado a 2-1 advantage with only 12 seconds left in the second stanza.
The Eagles would open the final 20 minutes by building upon their lead, as Joly would weave his way through the slot before snapping a shot from the top of the crease into the back of the net. The tally would push Colorado's advantage to 3-1 just 4:33 into the third period.
Still trailing by two goals late in the contest, the Roadrunners would chip into the deficit when Merkley snapped a wrister from the right circle on the power play that would light the lamp and trim the Eagles lead to 3-2 with 6:38 left to play in the game.
Exactly three minutes later, Merkley would complete his hat trick when he capped off a rush down the ice with a shot from the slot that would beat Francouz and tie the game at 3-3.
The two teams would be forced into sudden-death overtime and each side would earn several quality chances. The play of Francouz and Hill would prevent any scoring, however and the game would shift to a shootout.
Francouz denied all three shooters for Tucson, while forward Scott Kosmachuk found the back of the net on Colorado's third opportunity to give the Eagles the 4-3 victory. Colorado was outshot 37-33, as the Eagles were held 0-for-5 on the power play while going 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Eagles return to action when they take on the Tucson Roadrunners on Saturday, March 30th at 8:05pm MT.
Single-game tickets for the 2018-19 season are on-sale now and start at just $18 per seat. Purchase your seats today by visiting the Budweiser Events Center box office, online at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling the Eagles ticketing department at 970-686-SHOT (7468).
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