Coyotes on hat trick run

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

This year, for the Phoenix Coyotes, good things have come in threes.

Heading into Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Coyotes had registered four hat tricks on the year.

It’s helped them turn things around this season, going into the contest on a four-game winning streak.

“We’ve had some guys step up and have some great games for us,” said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. “It’s funny, sometimes you get guys that get hat tricks in blowout games. Our games have been all very close, so we’ve needed the goals.

“But we’ve gotten some real good performances from some guys.”

Lee Stempniak, Ed Jovanovski, Vernon Fiddler and Ray Whitney have all scored a hat trick this season for the Coyotes.

Whitney was the latest to do it, scoring three goals in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues Saturday. The night before, Fiddler, an Edmonton product, registered the first hat trick of his career in a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames.

“It’s one of those things, everything goes right that night,” Fiddler said. “I got some lucky bounces. I’d like to get another one, but don’t be expecting it.”

The three goals against the Flames has accounted for all of Fiddler’s scoring this season.

The second-year Coyote is usually utilized as a shutdown centre. He had eight goals and 22 assists in 76 games last season.

“I had at 140 text messages from people congratulating me,” Fiddler said. “They probably figured it was the last one that I would probably get. I got a couple of lucky breaks and sometimes you get that when you’re working hard.”

Fiddler’s third goal in the contest went into an empty net, giving the Coyotes a 5-2 lead at the time. It proved to be the winner as the Flames scored a pair of late markers to make things interesting.

“When you get two and you have a lead, you’re always looking for the empty net,” Fiddler smiled. “I actually wasn’t thinking too much about it, but then when I got the puck, I saw the net was empty and I couldn’t believe that was happening. But it was fun night, that’s for sure.”

The Coyotes now have bets on who will be the next player to register a hat trick this season.

Considering they were playing the Oilers, who have conceded three hat tricks already this season, odds were good heading into the contest for the visitors.

“I guess it’s hat-trick land out in Arizona,” Fiddler said. “It’s just one of those things, the puck seems to be going in for one guy. I don’t think the coaches are complaining that’s for sure.

“We actually have a Diet Mountain Dew hat that’s been brought on this trip. Everyone who touches that hat gets a hat trick. They’re all fighting over it right now.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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