The Ice Eagles came into this game on Dec. 3 with their spirits down after their recent defeat to the Yavapai Knights on Nov. 26, but held their heads high after learning they were facing the number one team in the league, the Rams. The Ice Eagles handed the Rams their only defeat of the season over a month ago, and they came in with a lot of confidence.
The Rams came off firing strong for the first couple of minutes as the Ice Eagles were struggling defensively to keep the Rams out of their zone. Luc Coulier was making some pretty spectacular saves to keep the score tied at none, but the tide changed when Coulier suffered his first injury of the game. During an offensive attack, Coulier slipped and slammed his knee into the post. His fellow teammates helped him off the rink and he had to sit out a couple shifts. John Brightbill immediately took Coulier’s place and allowed a goal directly off the face-off, the very next play. Coulier would return late in the first period and kept the score tied at 1 to 1.
After allowing an early period goal, Coulier was slammed into by number 21 Ryan of the Rams as he was trying to make a move on the goaltender. Coulier was face-first on the ice and not responding for a while before saying, “Really? Second time in the game?” Coulier complained of being extremely light-headed and would watch the rest of the game from the crowd, but left after the conclusion of the game to go to the hospital for precautionary reasons. Coulier has a concussion and it is unknown when he will return to play.
Brightbill subbed for the rest of the game and did a very decent job. The offense did the best they could against the Rams as they led in the SOG department by nearly 20 shots, and miraculously the Eagles were still in the game. Captain Brett Young told his young players, “Not to give up. We can win this game.” The game for the defense was very stressful at times as the Ice Eagles once again had trouble staying out of the sin bin. The Ice Eagles spent a good 10 to 15 minutes of the game killing off penalties. Coach Bill O’Hara emphasized before and after the game, “And for good heavens, stop giving them free chances to score on us. Stay out of the penalty box.”
Garrick Johnson had a much more painful experience than most of the players on Monday night when he took a direct shot to the midsection while on defense.
The Ice Eagles held up the Rams well enough to force the game into a final shootout, but the Rams scored on every single shootout opportunity and went on to win 4 to 3.