LOVELAND, CO – It’s been a great week for Mark Alt and all his respective families: the one with the football community in Kansas City and the other representing Colorado hockey.
On Saturday night, Alt scored the second goal in the Eagles improbable 4-3 overtime victory against the San Jose Barracuda, the first such win for the club this season after nine straight losses when trailing after the first period.
Considering their last overtime victory was October 19 in Milwaukee, a lot of data suggested Colorado would lose ground in the Pacific Division standings.
“That’s not a stat we really want to look at,” admitted Sheldon Dries, who added two goals including the game-winner in overtime. “It’s resiliency. We’ve got to bear down, especially with a home crowd like this. ”
The Budweiser Events Center was abuzz even more than normal as the first 2,000 in attendance received a Mark Alt gnome.
“It felt really good,” the Colorado captain said of his goal that reduced San Jose’s lead to 3-2 in the second period. “Condra made the best pass. I did what I could with it. It’s not usually how it goes (on Bobblehead or Gnome Night), but I’m glad it did.”
The memorable result in front of 5,289 capped off a seven-day celebration for the 28-year-old and his biological family. A two-sport superstar in football and hockey as a teenager, Alt ultimately chose the latter after high school even after securing a state championship as a quarterback with the former, including three Division I scholarships.
In choosing hockey, he opted to blaze his own path rather than following in his famous father’s footsteps.
John Alt played thirteen seasons in the NFL for Kansas City, making consecutive Pro Bowls in 1992-93 and playing more games as an offensive lineman (179) than all but one other man.
Last Sunday, the team in which his father spent his entire career and the city in which he was born won their first Super Bowl in 50 years.
“I was with the whole team (on Sunday). I had my dad’s jersey on,” smiled the 28-year-old. “I was quiet in the corner. I got a little nervous in the fourth quarter. But you can believe I was celebrating pretty hard. My dad and my brother were at the game. The whole Alt family was celebrating pretty hard.
“I texted my brother the whole game. He was sending me pictures. I could not have been more jealous the whole way through. I was kind of living through him. We were watching the game as a team. I was quietly celebrating in the corner; at the end of the game, I wasn’t so quiet.”
Kansas City’s equally impressive come-from-behind victory over San Francisco was the feather in cap of what has been the Alt family’s love affair with the Paris of the Plains.
“We went down on the field for the ceremony,” Alt said of his father’s induction into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2002. “He went out to the middle of the field. You don’t forget stuff like that. I was young, but I’ll have that forever. So, I’m glad my brother got to go to the Super Bowl because he was a bit younger at that time. I’m glad he got to experience some of that fun stuff I did.”
- Colorado came back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 thanks to three power play goals. Sheldon Dries scored twice and lone Eagles All-Star T.J. Tynan collected three assists, while blueliners Jacob MacDonald and Conor Timmins added two assists.
- Entering Saturday’s contest with San Jose, Colorado remained just two points out of second place in the Pacific Division following three straight wins, punctuated by Friday night’s 5-1 drubbing of the Barracuda. First-place Tucson won 5-1 on the road in Ontario while second-place Stockton lost to Iowa 5-2, giving Colorado a share of second in the division and fourth overall in the AHL’s Western Conference.
- San Jose goaltender Josef Korenar had been excellent against Colorado all season long, surrendering just four goals (1.33 GAA), stopping .959 percent of shots and winning all three of his games against the Eagles. Ahead 3-1 late in the second period, Korenar allowed three unanswered goals, the final on an Eagles’ power play in overtime with just over a minute remaining.
- After allowing only a single goal on Friday night, Hunter Miska had a much more difficult task on Saturday, giving up two goals in the first period. Following a failed penalty kill in the second period, Miska stopped 16 straight to shut down San Jose and improve to 11-4 on the season.
- Jayson Megna had scored the game-winner in two of his last three games entering Saturday. A shorthanded goal against the struggling first-place Tucson Roadrunners gave Colorado two points on the road last Friday and the shootout winner the following night put the final nail in the coffin of the Arizona Coyote’s top affiliate. (Tucson had lost six straight, including five in regulation, before Saturday’s win snapped the skid.)
- Going pointless in the first ten contests of the 2019-20 season was not how Martin Kaut imagined beginning his second season in the AHL. The 20-year-old forward from the Czech Republic now has fourteen points – five goals and eight assists – in his last 17 games.
- With ten goals and nine assists, including netters in two of his last three games entering Saturday night, forward Michael Joly is on-pace to surpass last season’s 30 points. The 24-year-old is third on the Eagles in power-play goals (three) and second in shooting percentage (16%).
- Colorado’s power play has finally been a source of positivity after special teams struggled for much of the past season-and-a-half. Kaut’s man-advantage goal in Saturday’s come-from-behind win gives the Eagles four in the last five. Going back to the last six contests, the Eagles have even recorded three shorthanded goals, including Jayson Megna’s 16th goal of the season Friday night.