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By: JP Puma
Colorado Eagles Weekly Update
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW
Monday, December 31; Eagles End 2012 With Another Loss in Alaska; Colorado looks to start 2013 strong in California
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Alaska Aces defeated the Colorado Eagles, 4-2, sweeping a three-game set over the past four days. The short-benched Eagles were facing a tough task against the ECHL's top team -- which also happens to own the league's best home record -- and a slow start contributed to another loss in Alaska, where the Eagles are now 0-9-2 all-time. Colorado will finish its longest road trip of the season with three games in California later this week (San Francisco on Wednesday and Friday & Stockton on Saturday).
Wednesday, January 2; Brown Backstops, 2-1, Shootout Win in San Francisco
DALY CITY, Calif. - The Colorado Eagles stayed perfect in San Francisco with a 2-1 shootout win over the Bulls, pushing their record to 3-0-0 at the Cow Palace and 5-0-0 overall against the expansion club. The Eagles, again playing with a short bench -- just 14 skaters dressed -- edged the Bulls in a goaltending duel that marked the 4th game of a six-game road trip. The teams will meet again Friday night.
Friday, January 4; Sides' First Career Hat Trick Not Enough to Keep Eagles Perfect Against Bulls
DALY CITY, Calif. - The San Francisco Bulls defeated the Colorado Eagles, 4-3, behind a strong third period. The win was their first all season when trailing after two periods and their first in six meetings with the Eagles. Three unanswered goals in a span of three and a half minutes ruined a strong night from Joey Sides, who provided all of Colorado's offense by tallying the first hat trick of his career.
Saturday, January 5; Eagles Can't Catch Up to Thunder in First of Four Meetings
STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Thunder defeated the Colorado Eagles, 5-3, in the first of four meetings between the Western Conference rivals. Colorado found themselves playing catch-up all game long as the Thunder would strike early in each of the three periods. Despite the Eagles tying the game prior to each intermission, a pair of shorthanded tallies by Stockton in the third period -- the latter with Colorado's net vacated for an extra attacker -- were the difference in the game.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Wednesday, January 9, Friday, January 11 & Saturday, January 12; Eagles & Thunder Finish Season Series
The Eagles & the Thunder have squared-off three times so far this season, but all of the meetings have come in Stockton. This week they'll wrap-up their season series with a trio of contests at the Budweiser Events Center. The mini-series will actually mark four straight games between the rivals, as Colorado just finished up an extended road trip with a game in Stockton last Saturday. These teams always play close and entertaining games; the all-time series is knotted up at 6-6-0, with the Eagles trailing so far in this season's set, 1-2-0. Colorado currently trails Stockton in the Western Conference standings, but a regulation sweep this week would put them just two points back.
GOOD TO BE HOME - After wrapping up one of their longest road trips of the season -- the six-game stretch was the 2nd-longest they'll face this season and (thanks to the league-mandated holiday break) the 17 days between home games was the longest -- the Eagles are glad to be back at the Budweiser Events Center where they own one of the best home ice advantages in the ECHL. Colorado has a record of 13-4-1 so far this season, good for 27 points. Just three teams can claim more home wins and just four have more home points. The Eagles' 82 goals at home lead the league.
EVEN NUMBERS - It seems like Colorado and Stockton are always in each other's way, and it might have to do with their similar styles and their similar results. In 12 all-time meetings, the Eagles are 6-6-0 against the Thunder, being out-scored by just a single goal (37-38). Each team, however, has found an advantage in playing at home; Colorado is 4-2-0 at the BEC, with a 23-19 advantage in goals.
SHOT MARGINS - Colorado tied a season high for shots in a period when they threw 19 on net during the middle frame last Saturday in Stockton. That helped them to 38 total in the game, which is generally a good sign for the Eagles. Since the start of December, Colorado is 7-2-0 when registering at least 28 shots in a game, but just 2-5-0 when recording fewer.
SLOW STARTS - The Eagles have been slow starters so far this season. Through 36 games, they've scored first just 17 times; only seven teams have struck first fewer. They've also scored their fewest goals (34) and registered their fewest amount of shots (336) in any period during the opening frame. That's left Colorado to play from behind too often this season, a scenario in which they're just 2-7-1 when trailing at the first intermission.
MIDWAY MARKERS - Colorado has played 32 games, marking the midpoint of their season. At the halfway mark, the team and many of its players can claim several league-leading stats: Chad Costello leads the league in points (49) & assists (35) and Jack Combs & Michael Forney are tied for the league lead in power-play goals (8). Colorado leads the league in goals at home (82) and power-play percentage -- both overall (24.4%) and at home (29.3%) -- as well as shorthanded goals at home (7).
NOT SHORT ON SHORTIES - The Eagles have allowed a league high-tying nine shorthanded goals through exactly half the regular season, putting them on pace to set a new club record (the previous high is 14 allowed in 2005-06). They allowed eight all of last year. The two shorthanded goals Stockton scored in the third period last Saturday -- one with an empty net -- tied a team record for most shorthanded goals allowed in a game (2). With Ray Kaunisto's shortie, three of the eight goals in the game were shorthanded.
MR. DEEDS - Devin DiDiomete has played just six games for the Eagles, but he's had quite an impact so far. He's tallied three goals (and had another waived off), along with an assist and just eight penalty minutes. That last stat might be the most surprising -- seeing as how he led the ECHL in PIMs last season and ranked 3rd in the AHL in the category the season before -- but it also shows great discipline in not putting his already short-benched brethren further behind in bench numbers.
All-Star Festivities Just Around the Corner - The Colorado Eagles will be taking on the best the rest of the league has to offer during the ECHL's midseason showcase, which will be held at the Budweiser Events Center on January 22 and 23. A Fan Fest & Skills Competition will take place on the 22nd (tickets start at just $10) with an All-Star Game being played on the 23rd (tickets start at just 18)! (http://www.ECHLAllStarClassic.com)
Jr. Eagles Chicks - Registration for the annual Jr. Eagles Chicks dance clinics and in-game performance is now open! (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/news.php?nid=1457)
Ladies Night - Our annual Ladies Night has been scheduled for Monday, February 18th at the Budweiser Events Center; doors will open at 6 p.m. This fun-filled evening with your Colorado Eagles players will include dinner with the players, a locker room tour, and much more. Tickets -- starting at $45 per person -- are on sale now, and can be purchased by calling the Eagles office at (970) 686-SHOT (7468) -- MUST BE 18 or older to attend. (http://www.coloradoeagles.com/news.php?nid=1490)