Winners of last year’s Kelly Cup, the Colorado Eagles are on a mission to repeat in their final season as members of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). It was announced earlier this spring that the Eagles are being promoted to the American Hockey League (AHL) and will serve as the official affiliate for the Colorado Avalanche.

After epically defeating the Fort Wayne Komets in overtime to secure the Western Conference crown, the Colorado Eagles took down the Florida Everblades 3-1 in Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Finals Saturday night and are now one step closer to a second-straight ECHL title.

Discipline proved to be a major key Saturday night. Three minutes into the contest, Everblades forward John McCarron received a two minute minor for slashing. The Eagles took advantage of the power play, as ECHL Defenseman of the Year Matt Register notched the first goal of the game on a nicely executed shot from the point.

After securing the early momentum with a power play goal, the Eagles began to exert their physical dominance, out-hitting the Everblades and creating offensive chances with physical play. This paid off later in the period, as Eagles forward Drayson Bowman would score a highlight reel worthy goal to put the Eagles up 2-0 with just seconds remaining in the first.

The Everblades brought some pressure in the second period, eventually cutting the Eagles lead to one. Colorado increased the intensity though, matching the faster pace of play with more physicality and big hits.

Holding a 2-1 lead in the third period, Eagles forward Shawn St. Amant buried an empty-netter to put the final nail in the Everblades’ coffin and secure the Game 1 victory. Following such a physical and exciting contest, hockey fans along the Front Range will not want to miss the second game of the series.

Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday night, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. MST. A live stream is available on ECHL.TV, or fans can keep up with the action by following the Colorado Eagles Twitter page.