WEST VALLEY CITY, UT. – The Colorado Eagles scored four straight goals to build a 4-0 lead after two periods and held on for a 5-2 victory over the Utah Grizzlies on Friday. Forwards Matt Garbowsky and Cam Maclise each notched a goal and an assist, while goaltender Clarke Saunders collected his 27th win of the season, stopping 28 of Utah’s 30 shots on the night. A loss by the Missouri Mavericks earlier in the evening also punched Colorado’s ticket to the playoffs for the 14th straight season.
Colorado nabbed the game’s first goal when forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel deflected a shot from the point from defenseman Sam Jardine into the back of the net, giving the Eagles the 1-0 lead at the 7:21 mark of the first period.
Less than four minutes later and with Colorado on the penalty kill, the Eagles would force a turnover in their own zone to spring Maclise on a shorthanded breakaway. Maclise would snap a wrister through the leg pads of Grizzlies goalie Ryan Farager to extend the Colorado lead to 2-0 with 8:37 remaining in the opening frame.
The Eagles would continue to flex their muscle in the second period when Garbowsky lit the lamp with a shot from between the circles to grow the Colorado advantage to 3-0 at the 9:33 mark of the middle frame.
With only 4:15 remaining in the second period, a 2-on-1 rush down the ice would set up Eagles forward Matt Brown to score his first professional goal, as he unfurled a shot from the left circle that would beat Faragher and give Colorado the 4-0 lead.
Utah would mount a furious comeback in the third period, beginning with forward Austen Brassard tucking home a pass in the crease to cut the Eagles lead to 4-1 at the 7:53 mark of the final frame.
Colorado’s lead would slip to 4-2 when forward Ralph Cuddemi powered a shot from the right circle past Saunders with 10:15 remaining in regulation.
The Grizzlies would pull Faragher in favor of the extra attacker with just over three minutes remaining. Despite a flurry of shots, Colorado would be the team to capitalize, as forward Ryan Harrison collected an empty-netter with seven seconds remaining in the game to give Colorado the 5-2 victory.
The Eagles continue their three-game series against the Utah Grizzlies on Saturday, March 18th at 7:10pm MT at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah.
Season tickets for the 2017-18 season can now be reserved with a $50 deposit per seat by calling the Eagles ticket office at 970-686-SHOT (7468). A complete schedule can be found at www.ColoradoEagles.com.