Outliers Defeat Eagles
On Saturday, the Outliers were back in action against the Northern Colorado Eagles. The Outliers had just come off a big win against the Eagles on Thursday and were looking to repeat their performance and pick up another win to sweep the series.
This week the Utah Outliers saw the return of defenseman Kaden Whaley who played a big role in patrolling the blueline last year for the club. Kaden quickly made his presence felt known during the series.
Doug Connor got the start in net again for the Outliers as he was coming off a strong performance in Thursday's win, making several key saves in the contest.
In the first period Saturday, the Eagles came out ready to battle, pressing hard against the Outliers. They forced the Outliers to grind along the boards and played physical from the opening whistle. A defensive breakdown at 13:17 by Utah opened up the scoring for the Eagles when the puck found its way to the slot and Colorado took advantage of their shot as it slipped past Connor for a 1-0 lead. The period played out with a lot of hard checking and tight defense as neither team was able to manufacture much offense. Shots on goal for the first period were Outliers 8, Eagles 6, and a score of 1-0 Eagles.
In the Second period, the Outliers came out focused and determined as they tied the game up 1-1 at the 2:03 mark when forward Jett Arminen buried his shot on the power play off a feed from defenseman Jakub Suran. Arminen's quick-release found the top corner beating the Eagles netminder cleanly.
Utah continued their controlled and tempered play, driving the puck to the net and creating chaos around the Eagles net. The team would once again be rewarded for their efforts when Outliers forward Dawson Armstrong drove the puck down deep into the Eagles zone with two Eagles' defenders pressuring him. That defensive action by the Eagles left a Utah player open. Armstrong passed the puck to forward Nikolas Schwab who was left uncovered, and he fired the puck into the net at 5:43 of the period for a 2-1 Outliers lead.
The rest of the second period was filled with back and forth action by both teams but the goalies stepped up their game making a handful of great saves. Connor stopped all 12 shots on goals by the Eagles in the second period and the team headed into the dressing room with the lead.
Utah was determined to play a strong third period and hold onto their lead for another victory over the Eagles. Unfortunately for the Outliers, the team found itself killing many penalties which took away their opportunity to generate much offense.
The Outliers penalty killers did a terrific job blocking shots and keeping the Eagles on the perimeter of the ice. In a wild sequence on the penalty kill, Outliers' defenseman Nicholas Chiapetta was tripped up at the net front and fell, while the Outliers goaltender went down on the ice in a slide as he poked the puck away, but it went directly on the stick of an Eagles player with the net wide open. Utah defenseman Kaden Whaley rushed to defend the net and made a save to prevent the Eagles from tying the game on an open net.
At 5:35 of the third period, Nikolas Schwab got his 2nd goal of the night. Schwab was positioned in front of the net and tipped the puck from a shot by forward Dawson Armstrong and a pass by defenseman Jakub Šuráň. This was a big goal for the Outliers as it extended their lead to 3-1. Doug Connor continued to play strong in net, making a couple of dynamic saves to keep Colorado from scoring.
At about 6:19 left in the third period, during another Eagle’s power play, there was a scramble for a loose puck in the goal crease, and Doug Conner was knocked over deep into the net by an Eagles’ player who fell forward onto him. Connor’s helmet came off and he hit his head on the back of the net. Doug was unable to continue to play and goalie Collin Soderholm was brought in to finish the game.
Soderholm along with the support of his team fended off the last few Eagles attempts and the buzzer sounded with the Outliers winning by a score of 3-1 and sweeping the series.
This weekend, the Outliers will be traveling to Greenley, Colorado, to take on the Eagles again in a three-game series. Utah will look to continue their win streak against the Eagles on the road. All games can be viewed live on HockeyTV.com.