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Eagles Take Commanding Series Lead With OT Win

Avalanche prospect Julien Nantel records three-point game

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Eagles are one win away from their first ECHL championship.

Matt Garbowsky scored 6:04 into overtime on Sunday night to give Colorado a 5-4 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays and a 3-0 series lead in the Kelly Cup Finals.

The Eagles, the Colorado Avalanche's ECHL affiliate, won two Ray Miron President's Cup trophies as champions of the Central Hockey League in 2005 and 2007 and will go for the series sweep and its first ECHL title on Monday in North Charleston, South Carolina, in the fourth contest of the series.

Avalanche prospect Julien Nantel of the Eagles recorded his first three-point outing of his professional career, posting a goal and two assists in the victory at North Charleston Coliseum. He got Colorado on the scoreboard with a wrist shot from the right circle that tied the contest 1-1 at 14:51 of the first period.

Game 3 was a back-and-forth affair as both clubs traded goals throughout the night. Joe Devin tallied on the power play with 3:41 remaining in the third period to give the Stingrays a late lead and send nearly all of the 8,079 in attendance into a frenzy. The excitement didn't last long as Colorado's Matt Register scored with 25 seconds left to tie the game with an extra attacker on the ice to force overtime.

It was the second time during the series that the Eagles have scored late in regulation to force OT. They did it in Game 1 when Garbowsky tied the contest with two seconds left and Register won it in the second overtime.

In the extra session, Avalanche prospect Sergei Boikov chipped the puck back to Garbowsky, whose ensuing slap shot from the high slot got past goaltender Parker Milner to give the Eagles the commanding series lead.

Boikov also added a goal in the contest, scoring on a slap shot from the left point at 12:09 of the second period to knot the game at 2-2.

Nantel's assists came on Boikov's tally and Jake Marto's goal at 10:09 of the third frame that tied the outing at three.

Fellow Avs prospect Mason Geertsen finished with four penalty minutes, two shots and a plus-1 rating.

Colorado improved to 6-0 in contests that go beyond regulation during these playoffs and now owns the ECHL record for the most OT wins in a single postseason.

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