(Photo Courtesy: Jordan Tigges-Reyes)
RAPID CITY, SD. – Eagles forward Michael Joly posted three goals and an assist as Colorado defeated the Rapid City Rush 7-3 on Wednesday. Forwards Matt Garbowsky and Drayson Bowman each posted multi-point efforts in the win. Goaltender Lukas Hafner stopped 24 of the 27 shots he faced to pick up the victory in net. The win now gives Colorado points in the standings in each of its last 10 contests.
The first period of action saw Rapid City outshoot Colorado 6-4, but the Eagles shutdown the Rush on the lone power play of the opening frame and the two teams ended the first 20 minutes of play in a scoreless draw.
Colorado barged its way onto the scoreboard early in the second period when Joly snapped a wrister from the bottom of the left circle past Rush goalie Adam Vay to give the Eagles a 1-0 advantage just 1:01 into the middle frame. The tally gave Joly his league-leading 16th goal of the season.
Just 58 seconds later, defenseman Matt Register would slice down the right circle before lifting a backhander over the left shoulder of Vay and extending the Colorado lead to 2-0. The goal would also create a goaltending change, as the Vay would give way to Storm Phaneuf in net.
With the final seconds ticking away in the period, the Rush would jam away at a loose puck in the Eagles crease and forward Jimmy DeVito would finally push it into the back of the net to slice the Colorado edge to 2-1 with 12 seconds remaining in the second stanza.
The Eagles would blow the game open in the third period, scoring a season-high five goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Colorado would stretch its lead to 3-1 just 1:33 into the period when Joly flicked a backhander on the rush past Phaneuf and into the cage.
Less than two minutes later the lead would grow to 4-1 when forward Joey Ratelle tipped a shot past Phaneuf to light the lamp for his seventh goal of the season.
The onslaught would continue when defenseman Gage Ausmus fielded a drop-pass on the rush and snapped the puck into the back of the net to give Colorado its sixth shorthanded goal of the year and a 5-1 advantage at the 7:06 mark of the third period.
Just over three minutes later and with the Eagles on the power-play, forward Jesse Mychan would bash home a rebound in the low slot to increase the lead to 6-1. The goal would chase Phaneuf from the net, as he would give way to Vay who would make his second appearance in the contest.
Joly would then cap-off his hat trick when he jammed a loose puck past Vay with 7:19 remaining in regulation to push the Colorado lead to 7-1.
Rapid City would finally summon an answer when defenseman Ian Brady buried a shot from the top of the circle at the 13:33 mark of the final frame to make it a 7-2 Eagles lead. Forward Dante Saituro would add a late goal off a backhander with just 16 seconds remaining in the contest, as Colorado captured the 7-3 victory.
The Eagles finished the game going 2-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, including the shorthanded tally.
Colorado returns to action when the Eagles travel to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to take on the Rapid City Rush on Wednesday, December 6th at 7:05pm