LOVELAND, Colo.--The Colorado Eagles collected goals from Martin Kaut, Dominic Toninato and Logan O'Connor to defeat the San Jose Barracuda 3-2 on Saturday. The victory combined with San Diego's 4-3 win over the Tucson Roadrunners clinched a spot for Colorado in the 2019 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The Eagles have now qualified for the postseason in all 16 seasons in the team's history, as Colorado now prepares to face the Bakersfield Condors in Round 1.
Kaut got the home crowd going when he smashed a rebound in the crease past San Jose goaltender Andrew Shortridge to give Colorado a 1-0 edge at the 14:07 mark of the first period. Eagles goaltender Pavel Francouz stood strong in the opening 20 minutes, stopping all 12 shots thrown his way.
Still leading 1-0 after the opening frame, the Eagles outshot the Barracuda 12-11 as both teams exchanged chances, but Francouz and Shortridge held serve to prevent any scoring in the second period of action.
Colorado built upon its lead in final 20 minutes when forward Toninato tracked down a rebound on top of the crease and belted the puck into the back of the net to give the Eagles a 2-0 advantage at 4:34 of the final frame.
The lead grew to 3-0 when forward O'Connor fielded a pass in the right-wing circle and rifled a one-time shot past Shortridge with 6:28 left to play in the contest.
San Jose finally got on the scoreboard when forward Evan Weinger capped off a 2-on-1 rush by bashing a cross-slot pass into the net to trim Colorado's advantage to 3-1 at the 16:15 mark of the third period.
The Barracuda pulled Shortridge in the waning minutes of the contest and the move paid off, but with only two seconds remaining. Forward Alex True had the puck bounce off his body near the crease and past Francouz to cut the Eagles edge to 3-2.
Both teams finished the night going 0-for-1 on the power play. Colorado outshot the Barracuda 36-32 overall
Tickets for Round 1 go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. MT on Monday, April 15 and start at just $20. You can purchase your tickets to the most exciting part of the season by visiting the Budweiser Events Center box office, calling the Eagles ticket staff at 970-686-SHOT (7468) or visiting ColoradoEagles.com.
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ColoradoAvalanche.com contributed to this story