With one month remaining in their season, the Colorado Eagles look to fine-tune their game as they try to become the fourth team in ECHL history to repeat as Kelly Cup Champions. From the beginning of December to the end of January, the Eagles were red-hot, dominating the competition with a record of 20-5 over the two months. Since the start of February until now, things have not been so kind to the Eagles, as they have cooled off drastically with a 6-9 record over the five-week span.
Despite a dip in play, the Eagles still sit atop the Mountain Division with 80 points, eight ahead of the second-place Idaho Steelheads. With 14 games remaining, the Eagles have yet to clinch a playoff berth, but they can do so as early as March 11th if they can take care of business the next four games.
The next four games should be rather favorable for the Eagles with the first game coming Tuesday night against the Kansas City Mavericks, who have won only four of their past ten games — the Eagles have already beaten twice this season. The other three games come against the Rapid City Rush, who are the second-worst team in the league and a team that the Eagles have beaten nine of 11 times so far this season.
To clinch a first-place berth within the Mountain Division, the Eagles will need to win at most 11 of the remaining 14 games, assuming the Steelheads win their remaining 14 games which is unlikely for any team, no matter how talented. With an eight-point advantage on Idaho, the Eagles have a good shot at clinching the number one spot in the division but need to make sure they do not tie in points with Idaho at the end of the season — Idaho currently owns the tie-breaker.
One other concern for the Eagles surrounds Michael Joly, one of the best players in the league and currently sitting third in the ECHL in scoring with 61 points. On March 3rd, Joly was assigned to the Eagles’ AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.
Let it sink in. Michael Joly has 32 goals in 33 games…
— Colorado Eagles (@ColoradoEagles) January 27, 2018
Without one of the most talented players in the ECHL, this will make things a bit tougher, but the Eagles still have a deep roster that has worked together all season long to find the back of the net and win plenty of games. On top of their skilled skaters, they have one of the best goaltenders in the league, Joe Cannata, who has won 18 of his 23 starts and owns a jaw-dropping 2.08 goals against average.
With a month remaining, the Eagles do not need to reinvent themselves — rather, they need to get back to the style of hockey they played for the first three months of the season. If they can do that, they will be in great shape to make another run at the Kelly Cup.