Colorado Eagles Nest: Early Season Shuffle

The Colorado Eagles are located in Loveland, CO are operating the Colorado Avalanche’s “double A” affiliate in anticipation to becoming their primary AHL affiliate in the 2018-19 season. The Eagles are the pride of northern Colorado as they established their roots in the area since they were founded in 2003 and are currently celebrating their 15th season. Along the way the Eagles have picked up two Central Hockey League championships and presently are the ECHL’s defending Kelly Cup champions.

This season the Eagles have a enjoyed record of 7-4-2 and good enough for third in the division and fourth overall in the Western Conference. Those figures don’t tell the entire story however as the Eagles have experienced a bit of a tale of two halves already this young season as they jumped out of the gate with six victories in a row but currently are riding a four game losing streak and have lost six of seven. Most recently a pair of overtime losses after losing a late lead have stung the team. Goaltending and team defense have slipped a bit during this valley as well. However thanks to the hot start the Eagles are still in a good position to rebound and make some noise in their final season in the ECHL.

The Eagles’ roster is young, perhaps younger than usual as they prepare the fanbase for the transition to the AHL for next season. The San Antonio Rampage have sent down quite a few contracted players and most notably the Avalanche have provided a promising prospect of their own in 20 year-old forward JC Beaudin. The young players have paid dividends as Michael Joly especially has enjoyed a blistering start to his season with an eight game goal streak, which just so happened to tie an Eagles franchise record, plus he leads the league in goals with eleven. Beaudin is sixth in the league in rookie scoring with 11 points in 13 games, which included a seven game point streak of his own. Another Rampage contracted rookie Brady Shaw has added nine points in nine games as well but will unfortunately be sidelined for a couple weeks after a scary cut to his leg.

The Eagles have some offensive firepower of their own with returning player and captain Matt Garbowsky, who has posted six points in eight games after returning from a minor injury. Drayson Bowman has chipped in 12 points in 13 games and brings his 179 games of NHL experience to the team and also has teamed up with his brother defenseman Collin Bowman. On the back end, Matt Register and Jake Marto continue to lead the way as returning veterans with 12 points each. The goalies have rotated through Joe Cannata, Sam Brittain and Lucas Hafner with each seeing several starts. With the welcome news that Cannata has been returned to the team after his trip to Sweden to be the Avs’ emergency back up goaltender, the hope is that Cannata can bring stability to the team and in net and get the team back on track to when he won three straight games at the beginning of the season.

The Eagles have made some changes to their roster going into this weekend’s set in Utah to face the Grizzlies, who currently reside two points behind Colorado in the standings. The Avalanche have just sent down from San Antonio forward Julien Nantel, who was a big playoff performer for the Eagles in their Kelly Cup run. Nantel is also a former teammate of Beaudin when they won the President’s Cup together in the QMJHL for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Reuniting the pair might lead to more of an offensive spark for the Eagles and especially coupled with the chemistry Beaudin has with Joly. The Eagles also signed forward Emil Romig, who is a recent graduate from the University of Denver and released defenseman who filled-in a lot as a forward CJ Garcia plus forward Shawn St-Amant was called up to San Antonio earlier in the week. Goaltender Brittain was called up to San Antonio as well for an injury fill-in, which is good news that Cannata remains with Colorado to help stabilize the situation in net. The lineup will look a bit different coming up but hopefully that’s the spark that’s needed to get the Eagles back on track.

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