Dylan Hood and Isaac Smeltzer went into Tuesday night’s ECHL All-Star Skills Competition hoping simply to not fall down on the ice in front of their hometown crowd.
Instead, the two Colorado Eagles brought the fans inside the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, CO to their feet by coming oh so close to breaking two ECHL All-Star Skills Competition records as the Eagles defeated the ECHL All-Stars, 10-5.
“We’re all very competitive individuals so you come into anything like this and you want to win,” Smeltzer said.
Smeltzer led the Eagles (94.8 mph) to a victory in both the team and individual portions of the CCM Hardest Shot competition with a 101.1 mph blast, coming up 1.6 mph short of Josh Godfrey’s ECHL record 102.7 mph shot.
“I was pretty excited,” Smeltzer said. “It was a pretty cool feeling to crack 100. A lot of the NHL guys are over 100 and it’s nice to see your shot is that fast or that caliber.”
Hood had the most exciting moment of the night when he started off the OtterBox Fastest Skater competition in a blistering 13.455 seconds. The 5'9” inch rookie came within tenths of a second of breaking Jeff Lazaro’s 15-year record time of 13.395.
“I just tried not to fall around those corners,” laughed Hood. “It was cool. I didn’t realize I did that well but I am really happy with it.”
The Eagles won the team portion of the fastest skater competition with an average time of 13.760. Gwinnett’s Mike Lee defeated Kyle Jones in a playful goalie race to earn a point for the All-Stars.
The ECHL All-Stars had started the night off quickly, opening up a 3-0 lead by winning The University of Colorado Health Team Skills Course, 1:18 to 1:36.
Wheeling’s Andrew Hotham then took home The City of Loveland Accuracy Shooting title by going 4-for-5. The All-Stars finished 12-for-19 compared to the Eagle’s 8-for-23 performance.
“We (Elmira’s Dustin Gazley and San Francisco’s Dean Ouellet) were joking before that we just didn’t want to be the worst,” Hotham said. ‘Luckily I was able to go last and the pressure was off me and I hit the first two targets so it was great.”
Kyle Jones and Adam Brown led the Eagles to a victory in The Sher-Wood Hockey Rapid Fire competition with eight saves while the All Stars received seven saves from Lee and Reading’s Philipp Grubauer.
Brown, who made 12 saves against 15 shots for the night, was named The MeiGray Group Outstanding Goalie by teaming with Jones to lead the Eagles to a 5-1 victory in the Breakaway Relay contest.
The ECHL All-Star Game is set for a 7:05 MT faceoff Wednesday night.
Follow Justin Felisko at Twitter via @jfelisko