Special Teams Puts the Colorado Eagles Up 2-0 on Wichita Thunder
The Colorado Eagles once again used their prolific special teams to take Game 2 of their series versus the Wichita Thunder. The Eagles scored two power-play goals and killed off six Thunder power-plays in downing Wichita 5-2. J.C. Beaudin and Drayson Bowman each had 2 assists for the
The Thunder were looking to get off to a quick start, but things went miserably bad for them as the Colorado Eagles scored just 25 seconds into the contest. A bad giveaway behind the Thunder net gave Ryan Harrison the puck. He quickly passed it in front to Joey Ratelle who redirected the puck in for his first goal of the playoffs.
The Wichita Thunder were having much more success getting the puck on net than they had on Sunday, but were not able to get on the board. However, at 13:16, they would finally tie the score. Ralph Cuddemi brought the puck into the Eagles end, giving it to Cam Reid. Reid fended off an Eagles defender, controlling the puck with one hand on his stick before making a pass across the slot to Travis Brown. Brown blasted the one-timer by Joe Cannata for his first goal of the playoffs.
With 2:54 left in the first, Colorado had a golden opportunity after a terrible turnover gave the Eagles the puck on a two-on-one in the Thunder end. The puck was passed to Travis Barron who went in on net on a breakaway. He got Shane Starrett down, but the Wichita goalie stayed with it and made a great save with his leg.
With 20 seconds left in the period, the Thunder had a great chance while killing a penalty. Entering on a 3-on-2, Lane Bauer made a great pass across the crease to the other side of the net to Cuddemi, who redirected the puck onto the empty net, but Cannata made a fantastic save with his leg, sliding across in time to kick the puck away.
At the 1:47 mark of the second, the Thunder took the lead. Just as the Wichita power-play ended, the puck was shot around the boards to Travis Brown at the point. He blasted a shot that Dyson Stevenson tipped into the upper corner of the net for his first goal of the playoffs. That made it 2-1 Wichita.
With 7:18 left in the second, the Eagles tied the score thanks to a power-play goal. Colorado was getting great pressure in the Wichita end. A shot by Drayson Bowman was saved by Starrett, but the rebound fell in front of the net, creating a mad scramble. Ryan Olsen was eventually able to tip it up and over the Thunder goalie to tie the score at two.
A little over two minutes later, the Colorado Eagles would take back the lead. Another turnover gave Bowman the puck along the boards. He used the give and go, passing the puck to Matt Grawbowsky, who fed it back to Bowman in the front of the net. Bowman’s shot was stopped by the Wichita goalie, but the rebound came to Michael Joly who put it back net. It looked like Starrett had control, but it squirted between his arm and body and just across the goal line to give Colorado the 3-2 lead.
The Eagles would put this game away with 5:16 left in the contest, scoring their second power-play goal of the game. Another turnover gave J.C. Beaudin the puck. He passed it to Julien Nantel who was cruising down the slot. Nantel tipped it in for his first goal of the playoffs. That made it 4-2.
Colorado added an empty net goal by Collin Bowman with 53 seconds left.
Drayson Bowman and J.C. Beaudin each finished with 2 assists for the Colorado Eagles. Joe Cannata made 25 saves. Shane Starrett made 29 saves for the Thunder. Travis Brown had a goal and an assist.
The series moves to Colorado for Game 3 with the Eagles up 2-0. The puck drops at 8:05 Wichita time.
Featured Image by Ed Bailey
By Robert Pannier