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By: JP Puma
Colorado Eagles Weekly Update
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
Wednesday, November 21; 2013 ECHL All-Star Event Jerseys Unveiled; Skills Competition & All-Star Game jerseys pay tribute to Colorado's hockey history.
LOVELAND, Colo. - This evening, the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL unveiled the jerseys that will be used during the league's upcoming ECHL All-Star Week, presented by CCM. The 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, presented by University of Colorado Health, will be played on Wednesday, January 23 and a Skills Competition, presented by CCM and OtterBox, will take place on Tuesday, January 22; both events will occur at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.
The All-Star Game will feature the host Eagles taking on an All-Star team made up of players from each of the ECHL's other 22 teams. With the strong Colorado theme, it made sense for the jerseys to also pay homage to Colorado's rich hockey history. As such, the jerseys worn by both teams will include the main colors from the state's flag (red, blue and yellow) and are strikingly similar to the jerseys worn by the National Hockey League's former Colorado Rockies franchise, which played in Denver from 1976 through 1982 (before moving to New Jersey as the current day Devils). The ECHL's championship trophy, the Kelly Cup, was named after Patrick Kelly, who coached the Colorado Rockies in 1977-78.
Wednesday, November 21; Defending Champs Snap Eagles' Home Winning Streak
LOVELAND, Colo. - The Colorado Eagles and the Florida Everblades opened their three-game series with identical 6-6-3 records, but costly turnovers and a second period scoring spree helped the defending ECHL champions to a 7-4 victory as the Eagles played their first ever game against an Eastern Conference opponent. Colorado's top line accounted for nine points (3-6-9), but it wasn't enough to keep the Eagles' five-game home winning streak alive.
Friday, November 23; Eagles Top Defending Champions, 6-5, in a Shootout
LOVELAND, Colo. - The Colorado Eagles defeated the defending champion Florida Everblades, 6-5, in a shootout, as the teams squared off for the second meeting of a three-game set this week at the Budweiser Events Center. The back-and-forth game saw four total lead changes -- fueled by two of the league's top power plays -- as Colorado won their first contest in extra time this season.
Saturday, November 24; Eagles Take Series Against Defending Champs With 4-1 Win
LOVELAND, Colo. - The Colorado Eagles defeated the Florida Everblades, 4-1, taking two of three games from the defending ECHL champions this week. Adam Brown, making his first start since Oct. 17 -- and seeing his first action of any kind since Oct. 20 -- stopped every shot Florida threw his way, and Colorado's penalty killers went a perfect 6-for-6 against the league's 3rd ranked power play to backstop the win. The Eagles' offense was powered mostly by the league's top three scorers as Chad Costello, Jack Combs & Michael Forney combined for six points (3-3-6).
THE WEEK AHEAD
Wednesday, November 28, Friday, November 30 & Saturday, December 1; Eagles Look For Success on the Road in Idaho
After taking on the previous two ECHL champions in their past two series (Alaska and then Florida), the Eagles will take on the resurgent Steelheads in a three-game set in Idaho. The Steelheads claimed the Western Conference's final playoff spot last season, but they're off to a much better start this season, trailing the 1st place Aces by just a pair of points. Colorado is 0-2-1 so far this season against the Steelheads, and will look to change that as they search for their first road win of the year.
#600 - Saturday night's win came in the 600th regular season game in Eagles history. Nearly two months through their 10th season, the Eagles have an overall record of 386-164-50, good for a winning percentage of .685 -- the best winning percentage in all of North American professional hockey since the team's inception in 2003-04.
NOVEMBER NUMBERS - Colorado has put together a nice November record of 7-3-1, including a mark of 7-1-0 at home, where they've out-scored their opponents 49-22. That breaks down to an average of six goals/home game, fueled in large part to the team's top line (Chad Costello, Jack Combs & Michael Forney), whose members also happen to be the league's top three scorers this month. Costello & Forney have won two of the month's three weekly league honors so far, and after leading the league in points last week, Costello has a chance to make it three of four.
TOP TRIO - The Eagles' top line of Chad Costello, Jack Combs and Michael Forney is also the ECHL's top line, as the three players rank 1st, 2nd & 3rd respectively in points. Costello also ranks 1st in assists, power-play assists & power-play points. Combs also ranks 2nd in goals, assists & power-play points, while being tied for 1st in power-play goals with Forney, who ranks 1st in goals.
HE'S ON OUR SIDE - Arguably the Eagles' top performer outside its top line has been Idaho native Joey Sides, who's tied for 4th on the team in points. He's tied for 2nd in the league with a plus-12 plus/minus rating and has been a consistent point producer all year. If you count his shootout-winning goal last Friday -- a stat that's not officially recognized -- he's riding a 10-game point streak in which he's registered 14 points (6-8-14). The only player on the team with a longer point streak is the league's reigning MVP, Chad Costello (12 games, 28 points); Costello has been held without a point in just one game all year!
SETTLING IN - Not to be forgotten among the team's top performers, Trent Daavettila has overcome a slow start to the season to join Joey Sides in a 4th place tie on the Eagles' points list. Daavettila went without a point through the season's first five games -- a remarkable drought for the player with more points than anyone else in the ECHL since 2009-10 -- but has registered a point in all but three games since. In the past 13 games, Daavettila has 18 points (9-9-18), and he's currently on a five-game point streak.
BROWNIE POINTS - It would have been understandable if Adam Brown was a little rusty last Saturday night. The rookie goaltender hadn't started a game since Oct. 17 and hadn't seen any game action since Oct. 20 -- a span of over a month! But all he did was stop all 23 shots the defending ECHL champs sent his way (the only goal he allowed was scored by his teammate) to push his record on the season to 2-0-0-1.
DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE - Colorado's success this month hasn't been all about offense. In Saturday night's 4-1 victory over the defending league champs, the Eagles held the Everblades to just three shots in the first frame, tying the 3rd-fewest shots allowed in a period in team history. The 24 shots they allowed all game (23 really, since the only goal allowed came off the stick of an Eagle) tied a season low for shots allowed. And Colorado's penalty killers stopped all six of Florida's power plays -- which entered the game as the league's 3rd-best -- including a four minute double-minor to start the game.
POWER PLAY PROWESS - The Eagles' possess the top power play in the ECHL, clicking at a rate of 27.8%. They also rank 1st at home (29.7%) with just a slight drop off to 3rd on the road (21.7%). This week's series will mark the second week in a row that the team matches up with another one of the league's top man-advantage units. Idaho ranks 3rd in the league with an overall power-play rate of 25%, slightly better than Florida's 24.4% (4th). The Steelheads, however, have found better success on the road (30%, 1st) than at home (21.4%, 9th).
TURNING (STEEL)HEADS - The Eagles compiled a record of 6-1-1 against the Steelheads last year, but this season has been a different story so far. In the three-game set the teams played in mid-October at the Budweiser Events Center, Idaho went 3-0-0 (one win coming via shootout), out-scoring Colorado 16-9. The Steelheads -- who finished the 2011-12 season last in the division and 2nd-to-last in the Conference -- enter the week just two points behind the NHL-laden Alaska Aces in the Mountain Division, good for a 2nd place tie in the Western Conference.
ROAD WOES - The Eagles have played just five games away from the Budweiser Events Center this season, but they are still looking for their first road win of the year. Colorado is 0-3-2 away from home, losing a shootout in Utah (on a disputed double-tap goal) and an overtime game in Alaska. The five game road winless streak matches the second-longest in team history, one away from the record of six. Wheeling -- which resides in last place in the ECHL -- is the only other team in the league without a win on the road (0-6-2).
START STRONG & SHOOT OFTEN - Just like pretty much every other hockey team in the world, the Eagles find better results when they get off to fast starts and when they out-shoot their opponents. The Eagles are 6-1-1 when leading at the first intermission (2-6-2 when tied or trailing) and 8-1-0 when registering more shots than their opponent (0-6-3 otherwise).
Follow the Eagles on the Road at Stuft - Join other Eagles fans in watching all of the Eagles' road games this season at one of two Northern Colorado Stuft: a burger bar locations. Stuft is the exclusive public home for away broadcasts of the AmericaOne Sports feed. (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/news.php?nid=1443)
Toys For Tots - We'll be collecting new or lightly used toys for Toys For Tots at the first two home games in December (11th & 12th). (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/news.php?nid=1456)
Holiday Store in Foothills Mall Now Open - Our annual holiday store in Ft. Collins' Foothills Mall is now open (through Dec. 30), offering fans a convenient place to give their family and friends the "gift of hockey" this year! In addition, the store (located between the food court and Sears (previously Radio Shack) will be the ONLY place you can find 2013 ECHL All-Star merchandise prior to the new year. (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/news.php?nid=1452)
Jr. Eagles Chicks - Looking for a unique gift idea? Registration for the annual Jr. Eagles Chicks clinics and in-game performance is now open! Click the following link for complete details: (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/news.php?nid=1457)
All-Decade Team - The first two members of the Fans' Vision All-Decade Team have now been announced, with Aaron Schneekloth joining Riley Nelson over the weekend. Voting is now underway for the second of three forward spots. Voting for the team, which is presented by the Eye Laser Center of Northern Colorado, is being conducted throughout the season, with those participating able to win autographed items by the team members and highlighted by free LASIK! (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/udp.php?pid=284)