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Eagles top Roadrunners 5-2 thanks to power play, lucky bounce

They don’t ask how; they ask how many. For the Colorado Eagles, Tuesday night’s 5-2 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners wasn’t their most complete game of the season. It was in fact far from it.

Getting their legs under them was a challenge for Colorado against San Jose this past weekend, and that trend continued in the Eagles’ Tuesday game against Tucson. Conor Timmins took a hooking penalty just over two minutes into the first, and Tucson was able to find their groove offensively, controlling play for the majority of the first period and outshooting Colorado 12-5.

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“We haven’t started out well the past couple of games, and (Hunter) Miska held us in there,” forward Erik Condra said.

As the opening frame was winding down, the Eagles found themselves on the power play with just under two minutes remaining. Timmins found the stick of Condra with a shot pass to give Colorado a 1-0 lead over Tucson despite being outshot. The assist marked Timmins’ third power play assist in his last two games; he had two against San Jose on Saturday.

“Any time the power play can get one or two (goals), you start to roll,” Condra said. “You start to loosen up and play.” 

In hockey it’s nearly impossible to have success if you don’t have a goalie that can make key saves and steal a few games for you. Fortunately for Colorado, they have two of them.

Goalie Hunter Miska talks with backup goalie Mason McDonald during a media timeout at the Eagles game on Feb. 11 vs. the Tucson Roadrunners. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Eagles)

In the absence of Adam Werner, Miska has stepped into the spotlight and given Colorado the goaltending they need to push for first place in the Pacific Division. Entering Tuesday, Miska’s numbers against his former team were exceptional, with a record of 3-2, a GAA of 2.20 and a save percentage of 0.930

“We’re relying on him heavily right now, especially during this stretch,” captain Mark Alt said. “To have him back there and for us to rely on him night after night, he’s been standing on his head.”

The third-year AHL pro’s performances have been stellar recently, propelling the team to a five game win streak after tonight’s win, and he was rewarded with an NHL contract from the Avalanche for the remainder of the season but will remain with the Eagles. 

Despite allowing a power play goal to the Roadrunners in the second period, Miska once again was the hero, stopping 32 of 34 shots in the game.

Tucson couldn’t seem to catch a break on Tuesday as they outshot the Eagles 34-21 but couldn’t get pucks past Miska. After tying the game 1-1, the Roadrunners gave up a rare own goal off a delayed penalty to give Colorado a 2-1 lead, and Condra was credited for the goal.

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“I’m still not sure who touched it last,” Condra said. “We hadn’t touched it for about 30 seconds, so we’ll have to go back and see, but if it was mine, it’s the easiest (I’ve scored).”

Colorado added another power play goal in the second period and an even strength goal in the third period to stretch the lead to 4-1. Tucson made it interesting at the end, scoring to make it 4-2, but Colorado was able to hold one for the 5-2 win. 

Having not played their best game but still finding a way to win, the Eagles know the opposition will come out even harder tomorrow following a loss like this. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Budweiser Events Center. 

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

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