Julien Nantel Scores Overtime Winner for Eagles in Game 3 Thriller
Former Rampage Skaters Combine for Four Goals and One Assist
The Colorado Eagles returned to the Budweiser Events Center last night to host their first ECHL Western Conference Finals game in franchise history. The Toledo Walleye and Eagles split their first two contests at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio this past weekend before facing off in Game 3 on Wednesday night.
Game 3 went down to the wire as Colorado landed the game-winning goal in the overtime period to defeat the Walleye 4-3. San Antonio’s ECHL affiliate held Toledo to a playoff-low 12 shots, while former Rampage skaters Shawn St. Amant, Sergei Boikov, Alex Belzile and Julien Nantel combined for four goals and one assist in the victory.
Colorado fans were quick to jump out of their seats as St. Amant scored the opening goal just 14 seconds into the first period. Colorado’s Matt Register sent a shot from the point when St. Amant deflected the puck into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.
Despite the early deficit, Toledo rallied to score two goals in a 3:28 span, taking a 2-1 lead during the back half of the opening frame. The first Walleye goal came from Kyle Bonis, who redirected a shot from A.J. Jenks at 11:08, while Tylor Spink landed the second at 14:36 with a nifty backhander past Colorado netminder Lukas Hafner.
But the Eagles answered nearly three minutes later with their second goal of the evening when Belzile hammered a rebounding puck into the back of the net at 17:23. Belzile’s first-period tally marks his 10th goal in the last 11 games and extends his goal-scoring streak to three games.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second period, but Colorado reopened the scoring early in the third stanza. Sergei Boikov registered his first goal of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs at the 3:31 mark, banking his shot off of a Walleye defenseman and past Toledo goaltender Jeff Lerg for a 3-2 lead.
The Walleye managed to tie the game at three when Matt Caito netted his first of the postseason at the 12-minute mark. After the remaining eight minutes of regulation fell scoreless, the game was forced into overtime for the first time this series.
Nantel landed the game-winning goal for the Eagles just 1:20 into the extra period, giving Colorado a 2-1 series lead over the Walleye in the Western Conference Finals.
The two teams will go head-to-head again tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. CT at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.