Eagles set to host Manitoba Moose, continue 6-game homestand

Ryan Loberger

Christmas will come a little early for kids in need, as the Colorado Eagles celebrated their annual teddy bear toss promotion night on Saturday, Dec. 14. Fans threw their plush toys onto the ice following a first-period goal courtesy of Logan O’Connor.

Last season the Eagles collected 10,000+ teddy bears during the game, and this season they broke that record with 12,000+.

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Mark Alt (10) and Dan Renouf (5) work together to get a large teddy bear over the glass at the Budweiser Events Center. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Eagles).

The night was capped off with a win as the Eagles topped the San Diego Gulls 3-1, snapping a five-game losing streak. 

“It’s always going to be a tough game against (San Diego),” O’Connor said. “They play hard every whistle, every game. It’s nice to get a big win against a division rival. We’re pretty tight in the standings, so we needed that.” 

Part of the three-game series against the Gulls marked the beginning of a six-game homestand for Colorado. They’ll host the (14-15) Manitoba Moose for two games on Tuesday, Dec. 17, and Wednesday, Dec. 18.

The Eagles dropped all four meetings last year against the Moose and were outscored 13-3 in the season series. Like Colorado, Manitoba has struggled with consistency to this point in the regular season. They’re unable to put together stretches of good hockey to pick up wins. 

Both teams are in the middle of their divisions and boast similar numbers. Currently, in the thick of a very level Pacific Division, the Eagles are in the final playoff spot with 25 points, just one point behind Ontario for third place in the division and one point ahead of Bakersfield. 

The Moose are led by centerman Jansen Harkins, who notched 31 points last season and has already tied that point total this year in just 29 games. 

Power play struggles have persisted with Colorado this year; they are sitting at an 11% conversion rate, while their penalty kill is at 80.6%. In their last five games, the Eagles have scored just two power-play goals in their last 21 attempts with the man advantage.

T.J. Tynan (right) hugs Sheldon Dries (left) following Dries’ empty-net goal against the San Diego Gulls. The Eagles won the game 3-1 . (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Eagles).

Getting the first goal in this game will be key for the Eagles. Colorado has struggled mightily when playing from behind this year. 

The next four games are critical for Colorado. A winning streak during this homestand will lock up their position in the playoff race for the foreseeable future. Home ice has not been a haven for Colorado this season; the Eagles have an overall record of 5-7 at the Budweiser Events Center. 

Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @LobergerRyan.

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