ARIZONA COYOTES

Coyotes’ Mullett Arena opener spoiled by OT loss to Jets

Oct 28, 2022, 10:32 PM | Updated: Oct 29, 2022, 12:00 am
Goaltender Karel Vejmelka #70, Liam O'Brien #38 and Josh Brown #3 of the Arizona Coyotes attempt to...
Goaltender Karel Vejmelka #70, Liam O'Brien #38 and Josh Brown #3 of the Arizona Coyotes attempt to clear the puck as Mason Appleton #22 of the Winnipeg Jets crashes during the third period of the NHL game at Mullett Arena on October 28, 2022 in Tempe, Arizona. The Jets defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

TEMPE (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes were greeted by a sea of mullets, the NHL’s smallest arena filled with fans revved up for a new season.

The Coyotes got the party off to a great start with two energy-boosting goals. The Winnipeg Jets pulled the plug in overtime.

Blake Wheeler scored 32 seconds into overtime and the Jets spoiled the Coyotes’ Mullett Arena debut with a 3-2 victory Friday night.

“A tough way to end it, right?” Coyotes forward Christian Fischer said. “I felt we deserved better.”

Arizona opened the season with six straight road games before returning to the desert and The Mullett.

Mullett Arena, Arizona State University’s new arena, is by far the smallest venue in the NHL and a temporary home until a permanent one is built.

The Coyotes had the early jump in front of 5,000 mullet-wearing fans — headbands with long locks were the giveaway — going up 2-0 on Christian Fischer’s first-period goals.

The Jets whittled their way back.

Cole Perfetti scored in the first period and Winnipeg picked up the pressure in the third, tying it on Mark Scheifele’s goal.

David Rittich, who stopped 19 shots, made a couple of nice saves to start overtime, and Wheeler beat Karel Vejmelka on a one-timer after Pierre-Luc Dubois created a 2-on-1 after stealing the puck from Shayne Gostisbehere.

Vejmelka had 32 saves.

“We played last night in LA and those first periods are always tough, but we stuck with it,” Wheeler said. “You leave those games close on a back-to-back, tied or down a goal, you’ve got a chance.”

The Coyotes got the Mullett party off to a rousing start.

Fischer scored the first NHL goal in Mullett Arena history midway through the first period, when Troy Stecher’s shot from the right circle hit his shoulder and caromed past Rittich.

That’ll be something that I’ll probably hold over the boys the next several years, let them know that little history on myself for that goal,” Fischer said.

Fischer also had the second goal, beating Rittich glove side off a faceoff win.

Then the Mullett momentum switched.

Perfetti scored 26 seconds later after pickpocketing Josh Brown along the boards, flipping a shot over a prone Vejmelka following some nifty stickhandling.

Rittich and Vejmelka stole the show in the second period, each making difficult close-range saves through traffic.

Scheifele tied it with his sixth goal of the season midway through the third, whipping in a rebound after Vejmelka got jammed on a high shot.

The Jets ended up rallying to win it, just like they did the night before after a slow start against the Kings.

“Obviously, we’re like to have a better start and coming into another team’s building, they’re going to have an early jump,” Perfetti said. “That said, it goes to show a lot about our group and what we can do.:

FAST PLACE

The ice is the same size as any other arena, but the closed-in feeling at Mullett Arena, coupled with pristine ice, had the players feel like they were flying around.

“I know it’s the same size, but the game comes faster when it’s a smaller rink,” Fischer said. “Any of the guys that play those preseason games elsewhere — we played a bunch of them — the game comes quicker for whatever reason.”

LOOSE PUCKS

– Winnipeg is 0-for-14 on the power play — 0 of 5 Friday — the past four games and 2 for 24 overall.

– Coyotes D Jakob Chychrun missed his seventh straight game after suffering a recent setback in his recovery from offseason wrist surgery.

– Jets D Logan Stanley missed his second straight game after getting banged up on a blocked shot Monday against St. Louis.

UP NEXT

The Coyotes host the New York Rangers on Sunday at 5 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM / 98.7 FM HD-2, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

Penguin Air
Arizona Coyotes fans wait for the doors to open prior to the Coyotes NHL home-opening game against the Winnipeg Jets at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. For the Coyotes, the Mullett Arena is their temporary home they will share with the Arizona State NCAA college hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes fans wait for the doors to open prior to the Coyotes NHL home-opening game against the Winnipeg Jets at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. For the Coyotes, the Mullett Arena is their temporary home they will share with the Arizona State NCAA college hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes fans walk the concourse level prior to the Coyotes NHL home opening game at the Mullett Arena against the Winnipeg Jets in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. For the Coyotes the Mullett Arena is their temporary home they will share with the Arizona State University hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Fans watch players as they warm up prior to the Arizona Coyotes NHL home opening hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets at the 5,000 seat Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Fans watch players as they warm up prior to the Arizona Coyotes NHL home-opening hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Coyotes will share the arena with the Arizona State NCAA college hockey team. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes right wing Christian Fischer, right, sends the puck past Winnipeg Jets goaltender David Rittich (33) for a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets goaltender David Rittich (33) slides over to make a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad (17) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes right wing Christian Fischer, center right, celebrates his goal against Winnipeg Jets goaltender David Rittich (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets goaltender David Rittich (33) slides over to make a save against Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller (9) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (44) skates with the puck against Arizona Coyotes right wing Christian Fischer (36) during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon (5), Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad (17), Jets center Adam Lowry (17), Coyotes right wing Dylan Guenther (11), and Jets defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) look for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Goaltender Karel Vejmelka #70, Liam O'Brien #38 and Josh Brown #3 of the Arizona Coyotes attempt to clear the puck as Mason Appleton #22 of the Winnipeg Jets crashes during the third period of the NHL game at Mullett Arena on October 28, 2022 in Tempe, Arizona. The Jets defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler, middle, celebrates his game-winning goal against the Arizona Coyotes with Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) and Jets defenseman Neal Pionk, right, during overtime of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) skates off the ice with Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (14) as Winnipeg Jets right wing Blake Wheeler, second from right, celebrates his game-winning goal with Jets defenseman Neal Pionk, right, and Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois, third from right, during overtime of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on a shot by Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad (17) as Jets defenseman Neal Pionk (4) looks on during the second period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes defenseman J.J. Moser (90) tries to keep the puck away from Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) during overtime of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) watches the puck go into the net on a shot by Jets right wing Blake Wheeler (26) as Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka, back left, and Coyotes defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, front right, are unable to stop the shot during overtime of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg (54) checks Arizona Coyotes right wing Zack Kassian (44) to the ice as Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo (2) looks for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes defenseman Patrik Nemeth (2) blocks a shot in front of Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) as Winnipeg Jets center Adam Lowry (17) looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad (17) loses the puck as he gets hit by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (44) during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Fans watch the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets during the second period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Winnipeg Jets center Mason Appleton (22) tips the puck away from Arizona Coyotes left wing Matias Maccelli (63) during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka (70) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets center Sam Gagner (89) as Coyotes right wing Christian Fischer (36) looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Mullett Arena in Tempe, Ariz., Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. The Jets won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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