For the first time in nearly a year, the puck dropped on the ice at Loveland's Budweiser Events Center for an AHL game.

While the only fans allowed to attend Wednesday's (Feb. 24) matchup against the Tucson Roadrunners were cardboard cutouts, the Colorado Eagles quickly became re-acquainted with their home ice in a 3-1 win.

The Eagles had opened the season with a five-game road trip, making stops in San Diego and Ontario — and dropping four of five games.

The Eagles hadn't played at home since the AHL season was suspended last March due to the COVID pandemic.

"We are blessed with such a loud building, so it was really unusual to walk out and see no fans here," said Eagles head coach Greg Cronin in his postgame press conference. "It is something we have had to deal with already.

"But it is always a different feel when you play at home and we really started with a lot of energy."

After a scoreless first period, Liam O'Brien put the Eagles up 1-0 in his first game with the club. Former Washington Capitals forward Jayson Menga later broke a 1-1 tie and defenseman Greg Pateryn gave the Avalanche AHL affiliate an insurance goal in the third period.

Hunter Miska stopped 25 of 26 shots in the net for the Colorado Eagles.

"(Miska) was sharp," said Cronin, who pointed an especially clutch save with about 8 minutes left in the game. "It was a good warm up for him when he goes back up to the NHL games."

While it was a little surreal to have the opposing Roadrunners and referees skate out to silence at the normally-rowdy Budweiser Events Center, the arena pumped in crowd noise and Jock Jams to help normalize the atmosphere throughout the game. The team is hoping for an allowance to host fans at the Loveland arena before the season is over.

The Colorado Eagles will look to recreate that wonderful atmosphere soon in a new, socially-distant way, as the team announced it will host a drive-in watch party at the Holiday Twin Drive-In in Fort Collins.

Tickets are now on sale for the March 6 game against the Henderson Silver Knights. General admission tickets are $11.50 per person. Children 3-10 get in for $7 and children under 2 get in free.

Fans will be able to turn their car radio to a special FM channel to listen along while watching on the big screen. Food, beverages and alcohol will be available for purchase.

Games This Week

  • 7:05 p.m. Fri. Feb. 26 vs. Tucson Roadrunners
  • 7:05 p.m. Sat. Feb. 27 vs. Tucson Roadrunners

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