The Salt Lake Golden Eagles ended their regular season in the same place they began it six months earlier - at the San Diego Sports Arena. Unlike the opener, this time the Eagles won, 7-5, as Todd Harkins scored his first professional hat trick.
The victory was Salt Lake's 50th of the year, which is the second most wins in Golden Eagle history (behind only the 1988-89 season when they won 56).Now the Eagles turn their attention to the IHL playoffs, which begin Tuesday night. Salt Lake plays host to the Phoenix Roadrunners at the Salt Palace at 7 p.m.
The Eagles were hoping to finish the regular season on a high note and they did that with three straight victories in three days. The fact that they had to come back from two-goal deficits in each game pleased Coach Bob Francis.
In Sunday night's game, the Eagles fell behind 3-1 midway through the opening period. Then they scored three goals in a three-minute stretch as Harkins scored twice and Martin Simard scored on an unassisted goal.
San Diego tied the score in the second period and went ahead 5-4 just 20 seconds into the final period when Dennis Holland scored.
But Salt Lake stormed back as Kevin Grant, who was playing his first game in over a month, scored and then defenseman Darryl Olsen scored on a power play goal to make it 6-5. Harkins completed his hat trick with an empty net goal with 21 seconds left.
After Tuesday's game, the Eagles go to Phoenix for games Thursday and Saturday, before returning for Game 4 the following Wednesday.