LOVELAND, CO. – Stockton forward Justin Kirkland buried the game-tying goal with just 41 seconds remaining in regulation, while fellow forward Luke Philp netted the game-winner 1:45 into sudden-death overtime to give the Heat a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Eagles on Saturday. Sheldon Dries, Erik Condra and Connor Timmins all posted multi-point performances in the losing effort.
The first period would see Colorado outshoot Stockton 10-9, while both clubs earned two opportunities apiece on the power play. Despite some quality opportunities for both sides, the Eagles and Heat would head to the first intermission with the game still scoreless.
Colorado would net the game’s first goal when Dries took advantage of a power play by skating through the slot and feeding a backhander into the back of the net to give the Eagles a 1-0 edge just 41 seconds into the second period.
The lead would be short-lived, as Stockton would level the score less than two minutes later when forward Glenn Gawdin wrapped behind the net and slipped the puck past Colorado goaltender Adam Werner. The tally would tie the game at 1-1 at the 2:36 mark of the middle frame.
The Eagles would reclaim the advantage when Dries skated behind the net and fed a puck to the top of the crease where forward A.J. Greer would lift a shot past Heat goalie Artyom Zagidulin to put Colorado on top, 2-1 with 8:26 remaining in the period.
Stockton would generate a quick answer, yet again, as forward Buddy Robinson would fire a wrister from the top of the right-wing circle that would light the lamp and knot the score at 2-2 at the 11:50 mark of the period.
The Heat would then claim its first lead of the night when forward Luke Philp took advantage of a mishandled puck on top of the crease, slapping the puck away from Werner and into the back of the net. The goal would give Stockton a 3-2 advantage with 7:46 left to play in the second stanza. It would also spell the end of the night for Werner who would give way to Hunter Miska in net.
Colorado would respond just 2:27 later, as forward Colin Campbell would bash a rebound in front of the crease out of midair and past Zagidulin to square the game at 3-3. The momentum would continue to build for the Eagles when Condra skated through the right-wing circle before snapping a shot into the net to put Colorado back on top, 4-3 with 2:57 remaining in the period.
Heading into the final 20 minutes with the Eagles still on top by a goal, the two teams would exchange chances, including two posts that were hit by Colorado. As the clock ticked down inside the final minute, Stockton would pull Zagidulin in favor of the extra attacker and the move would pay dividends. Kirkland camped himself between the circles and tipped a centering pass into the back of the net to tie the game at 4-4 with just 41 seconds left to play in regulation.
The extra session would see a puck shot into the corner of the Colorado zone, where Miska would be forced to make a play. After mishandling a pass, the Heat would deliver the puck onto the tape of Philp in the right-wing circle where he would blister a shot past Miska to give Stockton the 5-4 win.
The Eagles finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, as Colorado was outshot by the Heat, 34-31.
The Eagles return to action when they travel to take on the Tucson Roadrunners on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:05pm MT at the Tucson Convention Center.
Tickets for all regular season contests are on sale now and can be purchased at ColoradoEagles.com or by calling (970) 686-SHOT.