It has been quite the thrilling season for the Arizona Coyotes. A campaign that had high hopes for excitement and stellar play from the young Coyotes delivered above and beyond those expectations. Arizona’s home season started with a 2-1 win over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 10 and came to an end on Saturday night with a 3-0 victory against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. In 41 games, fans saw plenty of memorable moments at Gila River Arena this year. Here is a look back at some of Arizona’s best highlights in Glendale during the 2015-16 season.
There were a lot of expectations surrounding rookie duo of Max Domi and Anthony Duclair and they both delivered all season. Domi and Duclair have been amazing for the Coyotes as both rank in the top six in rookie scoring this season. The only setback for either young star might be that Domi might no longer be the most famous person to wear his jersey at Gila River Arena this year. Domi’s most memorable moment in the desert this season is his first career hat trick, which he recorded on January 12 in a 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers.
Duclair also notched a hat trick this season but it came on the road in Anaheim. For his top highlight at home this season, Duclair scored a stunning goal late in the game on January 9 against the Nashville Predators. Duclair’s incredible move to beat Carter Hutton capped off a 4-0 Coyotes victory in Glendale.
Across the street from the Coyotes, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals enjoyed a successful season that led them on a deep postseason run. The Coyotes did their best impression of a quarterback hitting a receiver with a deep pass for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Kings on January 23. Shane Doan flipped the puck from his own zone and Jordan Martinook managed to gain control of it before burying a shot past Jonathan Quick. The goal would stand as the game-winner as Arizona held on for a 3-2 win, their third victory over the Kings this season.
Martinook has put together a strong first season and Arizona fans took note of his performance this year as they voted him as the winner of the Jukka Nieminen Memorial Trophy prior to Saturday night’s game against Washington.
Doan has had one of his best seasons this year with 27 goals, a total that he has not reached since scoring 31 back in 2008-09. The captain has been the center of a number of moments in Glendale this year, including his second career hat trick and setting a few franchise records along the way. One of those records was the all-time franchise goal mark, which Doan accomplished with his 380th goal on December 31 against the Winnipeg Jets.
Domi, who currently leads the team with 33 assists, set up the historic goal for Doan. It has been a surreal sight this season to watch Doan, the last original Coyote, play alongside Domi, a vital piece of the team’s future. There will certainly be more of those moments next year should Doan decide to return to the desert for another season.
Charles Woodall-Pike is a journalist who writes about the Arizona Coyotes for The Hockey Writers.