The Golden Eagles made a gallant comeback, but fell to Phoenix in overtime 6-5 Thursday night before 5,720 at the Memorial Coliseum.
The Eagles had trailed 4-1 midway through the game, before fighting back to take a 5-4 lead in the third period. But the Roadrunners tied the score and then won it in overtime on a goal by Brian Lawton.The defeat left Salt Lake staring at a 2-0 deficit in the Turner Cup first round playoffs. Game 3 is Saturday night at the Coliseum.
Like they had in several games recently, Salt Lake fell behind early as Phoenix raced to a 3-1 lead after one period. The margin reached 4-1, before the Eagles fought back with four straight goals, before the Roadrunners tied it late in the third period.
In the sudden-death overtime, neither team scored for nearly 10 minutes before Lawton scored on Warren Sharples off a Sylvain Courtuier pass on a 2-on-1 break.
"Strange things seem to happen to us in this building," said Salt Lake coach Bob Francis. "We have two goals taken away, we come back from 4-1 to lead 5-4, one of our defensemen (Scott McCrady) gets taken out of the game on a major penalty and we score while killing that off, and yet we don't come out with a win."
The Roadrunners scored two quick goals by Dave Pasin and Nick Beaulieu. Then Salt Lake scored the first of three short-handed goals as Rich Chernomaz stole the puck from Couturier and beat Mario Gosselin on a breakaway.
In the final minute of the period Chris Kontos scored the first of three goals to make it 3-1. Then in the first minute of the second period, Kontos scored again and the Roadrunners were cruising.
But Paul Kruse beat Gosselin with a high shot and Tim Sweeney scored with 30 seconds left in the period with an assist from Chernomaz.
Early in the third period Martin Simard, who had a goal waved off earlier, broke away down the right side and scored an unassisted goal to tie the score 4-4. Then at the 10:17 mark, Mark Osiecki fired a low shot into the net to make it 5-4, Eagles.
However, Kontos scored his third goal off a face-off at the 12:55 mark to tie it again.
The Eagles nearly won it in regulation when Sweeney took a pass from Chernomaz with just eight seconds left in the game and fired a shot. But Gosselin made a great save to force overtime.
For the night, the Eagles outshot the Roadrunners 37 to 36.
Following Saturday night's game the Eagles and Roadrunners return to Salt Lake for Game 4 Wednesday at the Salt Palace.