Photo Courtesy: Kevin Bires
ESTERO, FL. – Eagles forward Ryan Olsen scored the game-tying goal midway through the third period and added the game-winner 7:14 into overtime to push Colorado to a 5-4 victory over the Florida Everblades in Game Three of the Kelly Cup Final. The win now gives the Eagles a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Ten Colorado players notched points in the victory, as goalie Joe Cannata snagged his league-leading 14th win of the postseason, making 30 saves on 34 shots. The Eagles scored two power-play goals, two even-strength tallies and a shorthanded goal in the contest.
Colorado would find itself on an early 5-on-3 penalty kill and the Everblades would take advantage when defenseman Matt Mackenzie buried a slapshot from the blue line at the 3:09 mark of the first period. Just 44 seconds later and with the Eagles still killing off the subsequent 5-on-4 power play, forward Matt Garbowsky would force a turnover in the Florida zone before slicing through the low-slot and lighting the lamp to tie the game at 1-1.
Later in the opening period of play, Colorado would earn a 5-on-3 power play of its own and forward Michael Joly would beat Everblades goalie Martin Ouellette with a wrister from the top of the right circle to give the Eagles a 2-1 edge with 6:46 remaining in the period.
Still enjoying a 5-on-4 power play, Colorado would stretch its lead when forward Travis Barron tipped a shot from the point into the back of the net to give the Eagles the 3-1 advantage at the 5:04 mark of the opening stanza.
The Everblades would cut into the lead when forward Brett Bulmer settled a puck out of midair before spinning and firing a shot from between the circles and past Cannata with 4:00 minutes left in the period.
Florida would complete its first-period comeback when forward John McCarron camped out at the side of the net and deflected a shot from the point into the cage to tie the game at 3-3 with 11 seconds left in the first period of play.
Moving into the middle frame, Colorado would go on an early power play when David Duirzynski was hit with a four-minute, double minor for high-sticking. However, it would be the Everblades who would capitalize when an Eagles turnover led to a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, which forward Stephen MacAulay would finish it with a shot from the slot to give Florida the 4-3 lead at the 5:29 mark of the period.
The third period would see Colorado outshoot the Everblades 14-8, including the game-tying goal which was scored when Olsen smacked a puck out of the air and into the net from the top of the crease to tie the game at 4-4 with 9:10 remaining in the final frame.
With the score still deadlocked at 4-4, the two teams would head to overtime and Julien Nantel would slide a pass into the low-slot where Olsen would steer the puck past Ouellette to give the Eagles the 5-4 victory. Colorado is now 7-1 in overtime in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, which sets a new ECHL record for most OT wins in a single postseason.
The Eagles finished the night going 2-for-6 on the power play, while Florida scored one goal on two chances on the man-advantage. The Everblades outshot Colorado 34-32 in the contest.
The Kelly Cup Finals continue with Game Four on Friday, June 1st at 5:30pm MT at Germaine Arena in Estero, Florida. Tickets for all home games in the Kelly Cup Final are sale now and can be purchased at the BEC box office, online at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling (970) 686-SHOT.