Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Colorado eliminates SteelHounds
Youngstown's upset hopes ended with a 6-1 defeat at the Budweiser Events Center.
LOVELAND, Colo. Staving off elimination against Colorado in the friendly confines of the Chevrolet Centre, where Youngstown won 18 games this season, was no easy task.
Doing the same in a sold-out Budweiser Events Center, where the SteelHounds are now winless in seven tries, was just too much.
The Hounds' aspirations of becoming just the second CHL team to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0 came crashing down behind three second-period goals for the Eagles, who advanced to the next round of the playoffs with a 6-1 victory Tuesday at the events center.
Youngstown finished up its first foray into the playoffs with a 2-4 record.
The Hounds had their chances early to rewrite what has become a very familiar script for them in Northern Colorado, but the Eagles killed all five first-period power plays they faced.
The Eagles had the early jump, and it turns out they needed it as the period unfolded. Just 3 minutes, 20 seconds in, Seth Leonard's slap shot from the right circle trickled past Hounds goaltender Brad Roberts, giving the Eagles the opening goal in a home playoff game for the first time in their past five contests.
Colorado then spent 7:42 killing penalties during the rest of the period, including 1:39 of 5-on-3 and 20 seconds of 4-on-3 play. But Marco Emond stopped all 12 shots he faced in the frame, and the Eagles' penalty killers took care of the rest.
When Colorado finally got back to even strength, it needed just 3:32 minutes to bury the Hounds in that three-goal hole. First, Ed McGrane found a wide-open Craig Strain breaking back door for an easy power-play goal, and then Brent Hughes jammed a puck past Roberts. Considering the Eagles now are 17-1 all-time in the playoffs when leading after two periods, that third tally was the beginning of the end for Youngstown this season.
With 10:45 left in the second, Aaron Schneekloth faked a shot from the point, skated in and beat Roberts high to give Colorado a 4-0 lead. Jeff Christian spoiled Emond's shutout with a goal 6:01 before the end of the middle frame, but it wasn't near enough to bring Youngstown back.
Just in case there was any doubt, Sean Robertson's deflection 45 seconds into the third gave Colorado another power-play marker and a 5-1 lead. For good measure, Brad Williamson added another power-play goal late to establish Colorado's winning margin. Roberts, in two wins in Ohio, made 41-of-47 saves. In his two losses in Colorado, he gave up 13 goals on 69 shots.