An NHL player you never heard of made history Thursday night in Minnesota
Justin Fontaine made Minnesota Wild history on Thursday night, tallying three goals in the Wild’s 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
The undrafted winger is in his rookie season with the Wild after signing an entry-level contract with the organization in April of 2011. It was the first hat trick of his career and the first time ever a member of the Wild recorded three goals in one game as a rookie, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Fontaine scored an even strength goal, a power play goal and completed his three-goal night with an empty netter with less than two minutes to go in the game.
At 26-years-old, he is the oldest player to register a hat trick as a rookie in the NHL since March 22, 2003 when Edmonton’s Fernando Pisani did so at the same age.
His 11 goals this season is enough to round out the top-three leading scorers on the Wild roster, behind Jason Pominville and Zach Parise. Pretty good company to keep when you’re a third-line rookie.
“(Hat tricks) aren’t the easiest thing to come by. I got a couple of nice bounces and that helps,” Fontaine said. “Being a healthy scratch isn’t fun. But you pay your dues and you learn every day and you grow and with the guys we have out you want to make a contribution.”
Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 39 saves for his fifth win of the season.