Colorado claims Bruce Taylor Trophy as Western Conference champions

The Colorado Eagles captured their second consecutive Bruce Taylor Trophy as Western Conference champions on Wednesday with a 4-3 overtime win over the Fort Wayne Komets in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.

 

Colorado wins the series 4 games to 3, and advances to meet the Florida Everblades in the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals. CLICK HERE to view the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals schedule.

 

It was the third overtime win in the series for Colorado, and the Eagles’ sixth of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, tying their own record from last season for most overtime wins in a single postseason in ECHL history.

 

Colorado’s Ryan Olsen notched the game-winning goal on the power play 10:34 into the extra session.

 

The game got off to a quick start as the teams traded goals within the opening five minutes. Fort Wayne’s Cody Sol opened the scoring at 2:07 with a blast from the blue line only to see Colorado tie the score at 4:50 on a Drayson Bowman tally. The Komets went back ahead in the closing minute of the first period when Jamie Schaafsma notched his fifth goal of the playoffs at 19:19. The 2-1 score held until Shawn Szydlowski gave Fort Wayne a two-goal advantage with a breakaway goal 8:02 into the third period. Colorado pulled within one at 12:00 when Matt Garbowsky scored his fifth of the playoffs and the pulled even on a Joey Ratelle tally at 16:51.

 

Michael Joly paced the Eagles in the series with six goals and 11 points while Garrett Thompson led the Komets with eight points (3g-5a)

 

The Eagles will be looking to become just the fourth repeat champion in the ECHL’s 30-year history. Previous teams to capture back-to-back championships are the Allen Americans (2015 and 2016), Toledo Storm (1993 and 1994) and Hampton Roads Admirals (1991 and 1992).

 

The trophy is named in recognition of Bruce Taylor, who was the founding father of the West Coast Hockey League. In the early 1990s, Taylor purchased teams in Fresno, Reno and Bakersfield and in 1995 joined them with teams in Anchorage, Fairbanks and San Diego to form the West Coast Hockey League. The Taylor Cup was presented to the playoff champion in the WCHL from the league’s inaugural season in 1995-96 until the league ceased operations following the 2002-03 season. Taylor’s ownership in hockey began in 1983 with the purchase of the Burnaby Bluehawks of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and continued with the purchase of the Richmond Sockeyes in the BCJHL and the New Westminster Royals in the BCJHL.

 

Taylor Trophy Champions

2018    Colorado Eagles

2017    Colorado Eagles         

2016    Allen Americans        

2015    Allen Americans        

2014    Alaska Aces   

2013    Stockton Thunder      

2012    Las Vegas Wranglers 

2011    Alaska Aces   

2010    Idaho Steelheads       

2009    Alaska Aces   

2008    Las Vegas Wranglers 

2007    Idaho Steelheads       

2006    Alaska Aces   

2005    Trenton Titans

2004    Idaho Steelheads       

2003    Columbia Inferno       

2002    Greenville Grrrowl     

2001    South Carolina Stingrays       

2000    Louisiana IceGators   

1999    Mississippi Sea Wolves          

1998    Pensacola Ice Pilots