LOVELAND, Colo. – In the seventh out of eight scheduled games between the two clubs, the Colorado Eagles hosted the Texas Stars on Saturday night at the Budweiser Events Center.
On an evening that saw the professional debut of forward and Colorado Avalanche prospect Sampo Ranta, it was the continuity of left winger Kiefer Sherwood that shone through for the Eagles.
Colorado was decked out in their lavender, Hockey Fights Cancer jerseys for the night, while Texas donned their road white sweaters.
The first period began with a concerted effort by the Eagles to both keep the puck in the Stars’ zone and out of their own end. Texas’ rookie netminder Adam Scheel seemed simply overwhelmed during Colorado zone rushes, with the Eagles crisp passing and solid puck pursuit wearing out the Stars defenders. The only tally of the first frame came on the end of the stick of Kiefer Sherwood after receiving a one-timer set-up pass from Eagles captain T.J. Tynan at 8:46. Shots on goal favored Colorado heavily (11 to 3) through the first 20 minutes.
The Stars began the second segment of play on the man advantage (Sherwood had a slashing call at 19:39 of the first that carried over into the second). Texas managed a couple of power play shots on goal (plus another even-strength chance) just over two minutes into the frame. Doubling their shot total from the first, the Stars finished the frame with nine shots on goal (and two major chances that hit the post). The Eagles presented five SOG of their own, but were clogged in the neutral zone more often than not by Texas, much more than they were in the first period of play.
Ready to shut things down, the Eagles came into the third period determined to finish. With Texas taking the first two shots on goal of the period, Colorado allowed only one more from the Stars before the Eagles rattled off 15 total for the final frame of regulation. Another one-timer from Sherwood (this time with the pass from Dennis Gilbert) made it 2-0, Colorado, at 14:11 — this time on a 5-on-3 power play. Not content with letting their collective foot off the gas, the Eagles added another tally from a great cross-ice pass in front of Scheel; Alexandre Fortin set up Dan Renouf for the third and final goal at 15:59.
DID NOT GO ON A BIG RANTA
As aforementioned, right winger Sampo Ranta made his professional debut tonight for the Eagles, donning number 39 and taking the ice on the opening faceoff. Slotting in on the third line alongside Miikka Salomaki and Ryan Wagner, Ranta also saw time on the second power play unit Saturday evening. Tracking the puck well and showing up strong on the backcheck, Ranta’s only quantifiable stat on the night consisted of one shot on goal.
The Avalanche signed Ranta to a three-year, entry-level contract on April 3, assigning him to the Eagles shortly thereafter.
YOU WANT SOME GOALS? SHERWOOD!
Kiefer Sherwood has only played in nine games this season for the Colorado Eagles. But, every time he’s in the lineup, he makes an impact. Sherwood has eight goals, five assists, and five multi-point outings in those nine games skated. Saturday night marked his first multi-goal night (two) for the Eagles in the 2021 season. Sherwood’s 12 points in nine games is good for a 1.33 points per game clip, the best of his career thus far.
Also on Saturday evening, Eagles goaltender Adam Werner earned his first shutout and third win on the season, needing just 16 saves in order to complete the victory. For the man who began his NHL career with a shutout, Werner earned his third AHL career shutout in three seasons played. He has posted a 3-1-1 record against Texas this year, as well as a 2.17 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. Five of Werner’s six starts this season have been against the Stars.