Some quirky capsules from the Salt Lake Golden Eagles' 7-5 triumph over the Phoenix Roadrunners in IHL action Saturday night at the Salt Palace:
- Martin Simard, the Eagles' right winger who could never manage a three-goal game in competitive hockey - juniors included - before this year, picked up his second hat trick of the season against the Roadrunners.- Marc Bureau, the Eagles' points leader, lived by the Christmas spirit - giving is as good as receiving. Bureau assisted on four of Salt Lake's first five goals and scored the fifth, giving him 15 goals and 19 assists on the season. Then Bureau did some receiving - a Phoenix stick to the face resulted in a gash that required eight stitches midway in the third period.
- Salt Lake, which entered with a lackluster 26-of-120 success ratio in power-play opportunities, scored on five of nine man-advantage chances. "That tells you it right there - that's the difference this year," said Phoenix Coach Ralph Backstrom. "They do a better job than we do on the special teams.
- And the fisticuffs, which had been frequent and forceful in recent Eagle-Roadrunner matchups, were few and far between - a token first-period battle between Phoenix's Rick Hayward and Salt Lake's Kerry Clark being the only bout.
"We weren't so conscious of the past with Phoenix as much as we were concerned with ourselves," said Eagle Coach Bob Francis, whose team has won five of its past six outings.
The 7-5 victory gives the Eagles a 4-2 edge so far in the Salt Lake-Phoenix series. The Eagles improved to a 12-10-2 record; Phoenix dropped to 9-14-1.
Salt Lake opened the score with a power-play goal at the 5:55 mark, as Rich Chernomaz gloved a rebound and tapped the puck past Phoenix goalie David Goverde. Phoenix countered with three goals - the first by Kyosti Karjalainen at 7:04 and then a power-play goal each by Hayward and and Brian Lawton within a 23-second stretch midway in the period. Simard cut the deficit to 3-2 on Simard's first goal at 11:11, a power-play tip right in front of net.
The Eagles outscored the 'Runners 3-0 in the second period - Bureau's solo power-play goal sandwiched between Simard's second and third scores, giving him a total of 16 goals for the season (one better than Bureau's 15 total). Winning goalie Steve Guenette keys the second-period shuout with some stellar saves as the Eagles faced two-man disadvantages several times late in the period.
Phoenix's Lawton notched a second goal to start the third period, but Eagle rookie C.J. Young pushed the puck between the legs of veteran defenseman Petr Prajsler and then wristed a shot past Goverde for the sixth S.L. goal. Kevin Grant of Salt Lake and Steve Jaques of Phoenix scored goals in the final two minutes to round out the scoring.
Eagle defenseman Ken Sabourin, who started the season in Calgary with the parent Flames of the NHL before rejoining Salt Lake on Nov. 16, was called back up Saturday to join the Flames, currently playing in Quebec.