You dream to score your first goal in the NHL. You dream to be here, first of all. To score a hat-trick, that's just an added bonus. - Josh Jooris
CALGARY, AB -- Josh Jooris’ last hat trick came in his first game as a freshman with Union College some three years ago. He didn’t expect his next one would come Tuesday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
But it did and it helped the Calgary Flames earn a 5-2 victory against the Arizona Coyotes, their third consecutive win, fourth in the past five games and seventh in their last nine contests.
“You dream to score your first goal in the NHL. You dream to be here, first of all,” said Jooris, a rookie who went undrafted and signed with the Flames after three years at Union in July 2013. “To score a hat-trick, that's just an added bonus.”
Tied 1-1 in the first period after David Jones and Oliver Ekman-Larson traded goals, Jooris took a backhanded saucer pass from Kris Russell and tapped his first of the game behind Coyotes starter Mike Smith at 18:36 to put Calgary up 2-1.
The pass, through the slot and navigating its way through traffic, was one of the better ones Jooris has seen in his 19-game National Hockey League career.
“I don’t think anyone was (expecting the pass),” Jooris said. “It was one of the better passes I’ve ever seen. It landed right on my stick. I just had to whack it in. And to be on a backhand, too. He just spun around and found me. I saw him look up when he cut back. He looked before he passed. I was expecting maybe it’d trickle through or hit a shin pad or something, let alone absolutely right on my tape.
“It was a pretty nice pass.”
Sam Gagner pulled Arizona even just 2:02 into the second period but Jooris, again, put Calgary ahead by one after working a bit of a give-and-go with Johnny Gaudreau and rolling the puck overtop of Smith.
Gaudreau’s return pass was one Jooris was expecting.
“I just knew it was coming,” he said. “I called for it and I didn’t even have to call for it. He saw me and made a great play there. I got a pretty fortunate bounce there. I think it trickled over his stick. I was going five-hole but he took it away. Luckily it went in.”
With two goals through 40 minutes, Jooris got the sense Gaudreau and fellow linemate Jiri Hudler might be trying to cap his night off with the hat trick.
“I don’t think about it during the game,” Jooris said. “I’ve just got to play the right way and if it happened it happened. You can tell my linemates were looking for me there a couple of times. They were trying to find me in the slot there and Johnny tried to find me.
"They were trying to find me but we had to wait until the end.”
With 45.2 seconds remaining in the game, in fact.
With the Flames up 4-2 courtesy an insurance marker from Sean Monahan and Smith on the bench in favour of the extra attacker for the Coyotes, Jooris found himself in alone on an empty net.
“Just don’t miss,” he said. “I didn’t think about it going out. We’re aware there’s an empty net but if you start cheating offense that’s where they can capitalize quick. I didn’t try to cheat anytime. I think I was just fortunate I got out there at the right time. [Hudler] made a great play to Johnny and Johnny made a great play to get it out. It was just a good play by those guys. I wasn’t thinking about it though.”
He didn’t miss, and ripped a shot top corner to put an exclamation mark on the most productive game of his young career.
Jooris wasn’t about to just slide the puck over the line, though.
“When I realized I had a clear break I was feeling it and feeling it and just kind of ripped it in,” he said. “It was an exciting time, I guess.”
His hat trick in the NHL differed from his first at Union ever so slightly, Jooris admitted.
“A bit more hats,” he said.”