LOVELAND, CO. – The Colorado Eagles established new franchise postseason records for goals in a period (6) and goals in a playoff game (10), as Colorado defeated the Ontario Reign, 10-1 in Game One of the Pacific Division Semifinal on Wednesday. Defenseman Keaton Middleton led the way with two goals and one assist, as 15 different Eagles notched a point, including seven multi-point performances. Goaltender Justus Annunen earned the win in net, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced. Forward Oskar Olausson notched a pair of assists in his professional debut. The Eagles finished the night 4-for-6 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, with a pair of shorthanded goals to boot.
Colorado would open their first-period onslaught just 2:17 into the contest when Middleton buried a shot from the blue line to give the Eagles an early 1-0 edge. The lead would grow on an Ontario power play when forward Ryan Wagner snagged a loose puck at center ice before flying down the ice and lighting the lamp with a wrister from the slot to make it 2-0 at the 4:19 mark of the opening frame.
That same penalty kill would then see Middleton dump the puck toward the net from the red line, deflecting it off Reign goalie Matthew Villata and across the goal line. The tally would push Colorado’s advantage to 3-0 with 14:28 still left to play in the period. The goal would also spell the end of the night for Villalta who would give way to David Hrenak in net.
Ontario would finally strike back when forward Brett Sutter deflected a puck past Annunen to trim the deficit to 3-1 at the 6:13 mark of the first frame.
Colorado’s first power play of the night would get the momentum swinging back the other direction, as forward Kiefer Sherwood snapped a wrister past Hrenak from the left-wing circle to make it a 4-1 Eagles lead with 10:05 remaining in the period.
The goal count would grow just 1:36 later when Sherwood tucked home a rebound from the side of the crease to drive Colorado’s advantage to 5-1. Another Eagles power play would lead to another goal, this time forward Stefan Matteau would slam home a rebound near the crease to expand Colorado’s lead to 6-1 at the 16:13 mark of the first period.
Still on top 6-1 to start the second period, the Eagles faced an early challenge, as Sherwood would receive a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking just 3:10 into the middle frame. Colorado would respond by shutting down the Reign for the entirety of the ensuing power play, led by several spectacular saves from goaltender Justus Annunen.
With Villata re-entering the game in goal for Ontario, the Eagles would the jump back on the attack when forward Alex Beaucage wrapped behind the net and buried a backhander to stretch Colorado’s advantage to 7-1 at the 15:32 mark of the period. Just 39 seconds later it would be forward Mikhail Maltsev who would curl behind the net and stuff the puck past Villalta to put the Eagles up 8-1. Colorado would carry that seven-goal advantage into the second intermission.
The Eagles would continue their offensive explosion into the third period, as Maltsev would take advantage of a power play when he deflected a shot over the shoulder of Villalta to extend Colorado’s advantage to 9-1 at the 6:31 mark of the final frame. The tally would also shatter the Eagles franchise playoff record for goals in a postseason contest, topping the eight goals that Colorado scored against the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in the CHL President’s Cup Finals on May 25, 2011.
The lamp would light one more time in the contest, as another Eagles power play would see defenseman Andreas Englund bash a shot from the top of the crease into the back of the net to solidify the 10-1 count with 6:00 left to play in the game.
The Eagles will be back in action when they continue the 2022 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs with Game Two of their best-of-five Pacific Division semifinals series against the Ontario Reign on Friday, May 13th at 7:05pm at the Budweiser Events Center. Tickets for Game Two are on sale now and can be purchased at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling the ticket department at (970) 686-7468.