The Golden Eagles decided to put a little extra toughness into their effort Friday night at the Salt Palace.
The result was a 3-1 victory over the Phoenix Roadrunners. Not to mention 43 penalties and a half dozen or so fights."We discussed a little word called toughness before the game and I thought we displayed it on the ice tonight," said Salt Lake Coach Bob Francis.
To say the Eagles needed a win Friday would be an major understatement. They were concluding a seven-game homestand and all they had to show for it was a pair of wins over the lowly expansion Kansas City Blades. Since they won't be back on the Salt Palace ice for 18 days, a victory was vital.
The contest was rough from the opening two minutes when the first penalty was called until the final buzzer when the coaches of the two teams had to intervene to break up a bench-clearing "argument" behind the Eagle net.
In between the Eagles were able to sneak three goals past Roadrunner goalie David Goverde, who was "unconscious," according to Francis, with 54 saves on the night. Salt Lake had a fine performance in the nets themselves from Steve Guenette, who was just sent down from Calgary earlier in the day.
Guenette didn't come up with as many saves, but most of his 23 were of the spectacular variety and he had a shutout until Phoenix's Mickey Volcan scored with eight minutes left in the game.
"I'm just happy to be playing again," said Guenette, who only made one appearance for Calgary the past three weeks. "I like being up there and collecting the money, but it's nice to come back and get a game under my belt. I'd rather play 50 games down here than just sit around up there."
After the way Wednesday night's game ended, you knew this was going to be a rough one. Salt Lake's Rich Chernomaz had taken out Phoenix goalie Mario Gosselin with a hard shot into the boards in the final seconds and the result was a suspension for Chernomaz for this game and a shoulder injury for Gosselin that will keep him out at least a week.
The Eagles scored late in the first period when Andrew McKim caught a pass from Corey Lyons across the crease and punched it in from five feet.
Early in the second period, the Eagles had a goal by Randy Bucyk nullified by an interference penalty on Martin Simard. The first fight of the night broke out shortly after, following a pileup at the Phoenix net.
The main event involved Salt Lake's Darren Banks and the Phoenix's Kevin MacDonald. While they went at it in the corner, Salt Lake's bad boy Kerry Clark mixed it up with Phoenix's Sean Whyte in the middle of the ring, er, ice. A few of the others held each other jerseys and danced around awhile.
Clark and Whyte were sent off for good and Banks and MacDonald got fighting and misconduct penalties.
Late in the period, Rick Lessard got his first goal of the year when he stretched out and flipped in a rebound off a shot by Bucyk. Three more fights occurred before the period was over with two players, Salt Lake's Bryan Deasley and Steve Rooney getting the boot.
Although Salt Lake had the power play advantage throughout most of the first 10 minutes of the final period, they couldn't score.
Following Volcan's goal and still another fight, the Eagles wrapped it up with McKim's second goal of the night, when he stole the puck from Rick Hayward and "flipped it upstairs" over Goverde.
The Eagles play at Peoria tonight and will try to keep the red-hot Rivermen from tying their league record of 15 straight wins.