Denver, Colorado – The Arizona Sundogs couldn’t hang on for the win falling to the Denver Cutthroats 2-1 Friday night at the Denver Coliseum in game one of the semi-finals of the Central Hockey League Playoffs.
Halfway through the opening period Kevin Baker was given a two minute roughing minor after a scrum broke out in front of Denver’s net sending the Sundogs on the penalty kill. With 5:03 left in the first Shawn Limpright received a shorthanded breakaway opportunity but was unable to connect for the goal.
After a scoreless first period Denver tallied two unanswered power play goals in the second. Arizona started the second on the power play after TJ Fox was called for an illegal check late in the first. 54 seconds into the period Limpright was sent off for cross checking providing Denver the scoring opportunity they needed, registering their first power play goal 1:24 by JP Chabot from Troy Schwab and Robin Soudek. Four minutes later AJ Gale notched the Cutthroats second goal again while on the man-advantage after David Rutherford was assessed a two minute minor, for goalie interference. Denver received their second 5-on-3 power play after Maxwell picked up two for an illegal check and Matt McCready received two for slashing. Arizona successfully killed off their penalties not allowing Denver to further their lead.
Alex Velischek had a great chance early in the third but the puck caught the post. Arizona finally got on the board with a goal from Johan Ryd and assists from Maxwell and Velischek. With Mike Forney and Sean Zimmerman both in the box for penalties with 41 seconds left in the third the game would go to 4-on-4 hockey until Arizona pulled goaltender Andrew Engelage for the extra attacker looking to tie up the game, but it wasn’t enough.
Engelage made 33 saves. Arizona was outshot by Denver 35-29. The Sundogs were 0-4 on the power play and the Cutthroats were 2-9. The teams will meet again tomorrow for game 2 at the Denver Coliseum.
The Arizona Sundogs are the Central Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. Season tickets, mini-plan, and single-game ticket information is now available by calling (928) 759-6600 or visiting arizonasundogs.com.