May 27th, 2024

Coyotes close out 28-year tenure in Arizona with 5-2 win over Oilers

By John Marshall, The Associated Press on April 17, 2024.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – The Coyotes closed out their 28-year Arizona tenure as winners, getting a goal and an assist from Dylan Guenther in a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.

The Coyotes buzzed early at Mullett Arena and closed strong in their final game before moving to Salt Lake City.

Liam O’Brien got the finale started with a goal less than three minutes in and Sean Durzi capped it with a empty-net goal to send Coyotes fans home happy – at least for one last night. Matias Maccelli and Lawson Crouse also scored, and Connor Ingram had 25 saves for Arizona.

Sam Carrick and Warren Foegele scored for the playoff-bound Oilers. Calvin Pickard had 16 saves.

The Coyotes and their fans spent years hoping relocation rumors wouldn’t come through.

Rumor became reality this week when Alex Meruelo agreed to sell franchise’s hockey operations to Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, who intends to move the team to Salt Lake City.

The Coyotes franchise could be revived; Meruelo will have the rights to an expansion team if he can build a new arena within five years.

That made Wednesday night’s game a finale one way or another and the fans treated it like one big party, creating a buzz unlike any during the Coyotes’ three years at Mullett Arena.

The Coyotes felt the energy and fed off it, opening with some big hits and a goal by O’Brien 2:18 in, sending the roaring crowd to their feet.

The Oilers killed the buzz by turning up the pressure and tying it on Carrick’s redirected goal midway through the first period.

Ingram made some difficult saves and Maccelli got the party rolling again by scoring on a breakaway late in the second period, setting off a roar that was followed by a chant of “Salt Lake sucks!”

Crouse made it 3-1 by flipping a backhander past Pickard early in the third period, but Foegele tied it with a shot from the slot that beat Ingram to the glove side.

Guenther pushed it back to a two-goal lead and Durzi capped the festive desert finale after Edmonton pulled Pickard for an extra attacker.

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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