Hello everyone, I am extremely happy and excited to announce the we, at Burgundy Rainbow, have been given access to media credentials with the Colorado Eagles. Taking these first steps into this kind of access with this community is something special for everyone involved. We look forward to developing a good relationship with the Eagles as we cover the rest of the season in the ECHL and hopefully into next season and beyond as they move on to be the Avs AHL affiliate.
I (Rudo3) couldn’t wait for this announcement and got my first taste of the official media life Friday night as the Eagles took on the Utah Grizzlies. Coming into the game the Eagles were 7 – 0 against the Grizzlies on the year and were 9 – 1 in their last 10 games. Things were a bit different tonight though as the Eagles found themselves shorthanded before the game even started with Michael Joly, Nicolas Meloche, and Joe Cannata all being called up to the AHL this past week. Despite the missing pieces for the Eagles, my first game in the press box was still an absolute barn burner going all the way down to the wire. It would take overtime for Utah to eventually pull out a 5 – 4 win on the night.
Despite a strong overall game, the Eagles struggled heavily in two areas, taking too many penalties, and on the other side their own power play. The Eagles took six penalties in the game, two of which at extremely key moments. One at the end of the 3rd period that would carry over into OT and then another just 30 seconds into OT. While those two power plays didn’t lead directly to a goal it was clear the Eagles were completely out of gas after spending the first 2:30 of OT on the 4 on 3 penalty kill. Just 30 seconds later the Grizzlies potted the game winner off a 2 on 1 break.
The Eagles had six power play chances of their own in the game but couldn’t convert on a single one. On the power play struggles Eagles captain Matt Garbowsky said, “It was just a little bit of frustration that turned into a little bit more frustration and next thing you know we were just bobbling pucks and throwing it around and putting each other in bad spots.”
Despite the power play failures and the depleted roster, the captain led by example tonight picking up 3 points including a big and beautiful short-handed goal in the 2nd period. Now nearly 30 games into the year when I asked about how he is adjusting to the captaincy role Garbowsky answered, “It’s been pretty easy with this group, there’s a lot of older guys and guys that have been here for a while […] even the rookies, they know how to act around here now and the whole team has made it pretty easy.” Beyond the captain Jesse Mychan, Joey Ratelle and Jake Marto all picked up 2 points tonight.
One stand-out who didn’t get on the score sheet was Emil Romig. He is a class of 2017 Graduate from DU that was initially signed by the Reading Royals of the ECHL but was released from his contract before ever playing a game with them. By mid November the Eagles found themselves extremely thin on forward depth and decided to take a chance on Romig as a small 5’9 180 lb forward. Since being signed Romig has posted respectable numbers putting up 5 goals and 3 assists in 15 games and the Eagles have gone 12 – 1 – 2 since acquiring him.
When asked about joining the Eagles mid season and playing pro hockey for the first time Romig said of the adjustment, “It’s definitely a change going from college hockey to playing pro, especially in [the ECHL] you play with 3 lines. In college you play with 4 lines, at Denver we rolled 4 lines so it’s an adjustment but so far I love it and [the Eagles] have been nothing but good to me and it’s been awesome.” I went on to ask if being familiar with Colorado has made things easier for him and Romig lit up saying, “Absolutely, I started out in Pennsylvania and then I came here and I didn’t realize until I was gone how much I just love Colorado. Every morning when we go to the rink we see the mountains in the background, just the little things like that it’s just awesome.” In tonight’s game Romig and his line mates (Joey Ratelle and Ryan Harrison) had a tenacious forecheck often pinning Utah in their own zone for long stretches and forcing turnovers. “We have tons of energy on our line so when we get going and let our legs do the work then we’re fine, I think you can see it in the games, we create turnovers, we go down low to work and that’s how we create our chances with our speed.” Said Romig about his line.
While it is unfortunate that the Eagles lost they still managed to pick up a point in OT, and on a personal note I had an absolute blast. The Budweiser Event Center (BEC) was electric all night long, the Eagles have some of the best fans in the ECHL and watching a game in that atmosphere is the way hockey is meant to be viewed. If you have the opportunity to get to a game there it’s an absolute must. The Eagles play one game on the road before the holiday break and then hit a a two week road trip that takes them from the end of the year through to the 2nd week of January. I cannot wait for them to return home so I can work another game at the BEC.
I would like to the thank the Colorado Eagles organization for giving us this opportunity, and I would also like to thank our readers for supporting us so well through these first few months, I hope all of you will continue with us and help us grow as we take our hockey coverage to the next level.
*Banner image credit to TheVoiceOfVlad