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Silver Knights drop playoff opener, must win two straight

The Silver Knights need another winning streak to save their season.

The American Hockey League team, which won six straight games to close the regular season, fell to the Colorado Eagles 5-2 on Wednesday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. The loss was the Knights’ first in regulation since April 5.

The Knights need to win the next two games to take the best-of-three series. The remaining games Friday and Saturday are also in Loveland, but the Knights are the designated home team for Game 2.

“We were pushing,” assistant coach Joel Ward said. “We just got off to a slow start. We hung in there, had some chances, just could not capitalize.”

The Knights, the sixth seed from the Pacific Division, trailed almost from puck drop.

Center Jayson Megna put third-seeded Colorado ahead 31 seconds into the game. He extended the lead to 2-0 with a short-handed goal with 3:05 remaining in the first period.

The Knights never tied or took the lead despite making a push in the third period. Left wing Paul Cotter scored 3:02 into the period to make it 2-1, but Colorado responded two minutes later with a goal from left wing Jean-Luc Foudy.

Cotter picked up his second assist when left wing Sven Baertschi scored 8:21 into the period to bring the Knights within 3-2.

Center Mikhail Maltsev and right wing Kiefer Sherwood then scored empty-net goals to seal the win.

Eagles goaltender Justus Annunen made 22 saves. Knights goalie Jiri Patera had 32.

The Knights were outshot 38-24, but had six power plays to Colorado’s three. They didn’t score on any of them despite converting on 19.5 percent of their chances in the regular season.

“We definitely need to start better,” Patera said. “I don’t think we had a very good first period. We have to finish up as we ended that game with a lot of o-zone time and a lot of pressure. We have to bring that to the next game.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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