The Colorado Avalanche and the San Antonio Rampage both had seasons to forget, with the big club finishing in last place in the NHL and their AHL affiliate finishing with the third worst record in the American Hockey League with a .401 winning percentage. However, the Colorado Eagles are making a deep run in the ECHL Playoffs to try to finish off the 2016-2017 season on a high note for the Avalanche franchise. The Eagles are only two wins away from taking home the Kelly Cup as champions of the ECHL, which is one tier below the AHL.
The Eagles finished the regular season with 99 points in 72 games, good enough for the third best record in the league, and have carried that momentum into the playoffs, making their way through the first three rounds to get to the finals. The path wasn’t easy for the Eagles however, as they had to make it past the leagues top two teams in rounds two and three, defeating the Allen Americans in six games in round two before beating the Toledo Walleye in five games in round three to get to the Kelly Cup Final.
Colorado knocked off the South Carolina Stingrays, The ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, 3-2 on Sunday night in Loveland, Colorado to take a two game lead in the series. The Stingrays were ranked 7th in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference going into the playoffs but managed to get past the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the Florida Everblades and the Manchester Monarchs on their path to the finals.
Avalanche Prospects to Watch
There are a number of intriguing Avalanche prospects to watch on the Colorado Eagles, most notably Julien Nantel, Sergei Boikov and Mason Geertsen. All three players spent the majority of the season with the San Antonio Rampage in the AHL, and they have been huge factors in the playoff success of the Eagles this season. Nantel’s 13 points in 18 playoff games puts him in a tie for fourth on the team in playoff scoring, which will provide some confidence for the 20-year-old from Laval, Quebec who only managed eight points in 59 games for the Rampage this year.
Geertsen and Boikov have also been welcome additions to the Eagles blueline. Geertsen, the Avalanche’s 2013 fourth-round pick, has provided some youthful energy and physicality to the Eagles defense corps, using his 6’4″ 205 lbs frame to his advantage. Colorado picked Boikov in the sixth-round of the 2015 draft and he has also played well on the Eagles blueline in the playoffs. The 21-year-old Russian’s biggest game came on May 19th when he scored a goal and assisted on two others in a triple overtime win against the Toledo Walleye. Nantel assisted on the overtime goal and Boikov was named the second star of the game. Boikov’s eight points in 16 games puts him third on the team for points by defenseman.
The Colorado Eagles will have until next Sunday to rest up before they take on the South Carolina Stingrays at the North Charleston Coliseum on June 4th. Puck drop is at 7:05pm eastern time.
The Eagles now have a week off with a 2-0 lead in the Kelly Cup Finals!