Photo Courtesy: John Babitz
CHARLESTON, SC. – Eagles forward Matt Garbowsky notched the game-winning goal 6:04 into overtime, as the Eagles rallied to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays 5-4 and taking a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Finals series. Defenseman Matt Register punched Colorado’s ticket to overtime with a game-tying goal with only 25 seconds left in regulation.
An Early power play opportunity would allow South Carolina to kick off the scoring, as forward Kelly Zajac bashed home a cross-slot pass from Rob Flick to give the Stingrays the 1-0 edge just 7:06 into the contest.
Colorado would strike back when forward Shawn St-Amant dropped the puck in the right circle for fellow forward Julien Nantel, who would snap a wrister past Stingrays goalie Parker Milner to tie the game at 1-1 with 5:09 remaining in the first period. The goal also extended Nantel’s point streak to seven consecutive contests.
South Carolina would jump back on top early in the second period when forward Andrew Cheriwchan corralled a rebound in the slot and snapped it past Eagles goalie Lukas Hafner to give the Stingrays the 2-1 advantage just 1:08 into the middle frame.
The Eagles would again find an answer, as defenseman Sergei Boikov launched a one-timer from the blue line that weaved its way through traffic and lit the lamp, knotting the game at 2-2 at the 12:09 mark of the second period.
Stingrays forward Steven McParland would put his club back in the driver’s seat when he forced a turnover at the South Carolina blue line and raced down the left wing, snapping the puck past Hafner from the left circle to put South Carolina up 3-2 with 4:22 remaining in the second period.
Colorado would yet again find a way to level the score when defenseman Jake Marto fired a shot from the left circle that beat Milner and tied the game at 3-3 with 9:51 left in the third period.
Forward Joe Devin would break the stalemate just minutes later on the power play when he stuffed home a rebound off the end wall to put the Stingrays back on top by a count of 4-3 with only 3:41 remaining in the final frame.
The late deficit would force Colorado to pull Hafner in favor of the extra attacker and the move would pay off. After drawing a penalty against South Carolina with 31 seconds left in the third period, defenseman Matt Register would grab his own rebound off a shot from the point and blast it into the back of the net to knot the game at 4-4 with only 25 seconds left in regulation.
Heading to overtime for the second time in the Kelly Cup Finals, Colorado seized the opportunity at the 6:04 mark of the extra session when Garbowsky blistered a slapshot from the high slot to give the Eagles its first lead of the night and the 5-4 victory.
The Eagles return to action when they face the South Carolina Stingrays in Game Four of the Kelly Cup Finals on Monday, June 5th at 5:05pm MT at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, South Carolina. Tickets for the Kelly Cup Finals are on sale now and can be purchased at the Budweiser Events Center box office or online at ColoradoEagles.com.