After sweeping a two-game series in San Diego Tuesday and Wednesday, the Salt Lake Golden Eagles hoped to polish off Kansas City Thursday night for their eighth straight victory and then take a well-deserved five-day break before their next game.
The Eagles notched their eighth straight win as expected, 4-2 over the Blades at the Salt Palace. What they didn't expect was a surprise two-game road trip to the Midwest, thanks to the sudden folding of the Albany Choppers' franchise earlier in the day.So . . . the Eagles headed out on a plane bright and early Friday morning for Green Bay, Wisconsin, of all places, where they'll meet the Milwaukee Admirals at 6:30 tonight. Then they'll bus to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a Sunday afternoon contest with the Komets.
Happy Valentines Day.
"At this point we're at the mercy of the league," said Eagle Coach Bob Francis. "We were handed this unexpectedly and now we have to make the best of it. We're going to have to fight through it and find our rest period some other time."
Tonight's game will be the Eagles' fourth in four nights and sixth in eight nights. Of course the players aren't real thrilled about it, but when you're on an eight-game winning streak, maybe it's best to keep playing.
"Everybody's a little tired right now," said Corey Lyons, who scored the winning goal midway through the final period. "But with the win streak still alive it gives the guys a little extra boost to go out and keep the streak going."
The Eagles started slow, which wasn't unexpected since they had flown home earlier in the day after a 31/2-hour marathon in San Diego the previous night that ended after midnight Salt Lake time.
After Andy Akervik scored for Kansas City, Salt Lake's Rich Chernomaz tied it midway through the first. Darryl Olsen made a nice move to put the Eagles ahead 2-1 in the second, before Darin Smith tied it with a long slapshot.
The game looked headed for overtime when Lyons scored with a shot from just inside the blueline that hit the post and bounced in. A minute later, Andrew McKim sealed the win with his 19th goal of the year on a rebound off a shot by Darren Banks.
Francis didn't think his team overlooked the Blades, who have the worst record in the IHL.
"I don't think it was a matter of underestimating them," he said. "It was tough getting going. They did a good job of getting us off our game.
"We're winning ugly, but we're winning," added Francis.
"Hey eight is great," said winning goalie Steve Guenette, who had plenty of time to think up a quote after the Blades sent just one shot his way in the third period.