Milestone Moments: Fontaine's Hat Trick
The 2013-14 season was quite a rookie campaign for Wild forward Justin Fontaine. The 26-year-old made his NHL debut on Opening Night, Oct. 3, 2013, against the Los Angeles Kings and never looked back. The former University of Minnesota-Duluth standout tied for 12th in goals (13) amongst NHL rookies, and was fourth on the Wild. He scored his first career NHL goal 12 seconds into the game against the Dallas Stars on Oct. 12, 2013 to set franchise record for fastest Wild goal to start a contest.
Of all the highlights for the Bonnyville, Alberta native, the Jan. 9 contest against the Phoenix Coyotes has to be the shining moment, as he became the first rookie in Wild history to record a hat trick.
He led off the action by picking off a Coyote clearing attempt, then showed his nose for the net by roofing the puck over goaltender Mike Smith. He capitalized on a fortuitous bounce in the third period, when a Nino Niederreiter dump in caromed off the glass and popped out front of the net. Fontaine poked the puck in with one hand on his stick to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead. He iced the game in the closing minutes of the contest by sailing a backhander into the empty net, as Wild fans in attendance launched their hats onto the ice.