Coyotes win first game in Australia after ice issues fixed

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Sunday, September 24, 2023

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The NHL's first preseason game in the Southern Hemisphere went ahead Saturday after officials apparently solved some issues with the quality of the ice at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.

Ahead of Saturday's Global Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes, won by the Coyotes 5-3, there were reports and photos on social media of the state of the ice surface, with puddles, ruts and uneven coloring of the painted lines.

On Friday, both teams were scheduled to hold an open practice. Although the Kings held their practice, the Coyotes were reported to have had to cancel their session.

The NHL was asked for comment.

It's early spring in Australia, and the game-time temperature in Melbourne on Saturday was 61 degrees Fahrenheit.

After a scoreless first period, the teams scored seven goals in the second before Arizona clinched the game with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

A second game between the teams was scheduled for Sunday in the same arena.

Rod Laver Arena seats about 15,000 spectators, and sellout crowds were expected for the two games. The arena is better known as the main venue of the Australian Open tennis tournament in January, the first Grand Slam event each year.

Many players on both teams attended an Australian rules football playoff game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night with nearly 98,000 fans in attendance.

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