As a result of the tragedy that struck the Tucson Roadrunners and their captain Craig Cunningham over the weekend, it was more important to cover his condition than to post a game summary. Now that we know his condition is stable (see my previous post), here are my thoughts on Friday night’s 5-2 win over the Manitoba Moose.
- Roadrunners’ top line keeps producing. Tucson’s top line of Craig Cunningham, Brendan Perlini, and Chris Mueller has been on fire, and Friday was no exception. Perlini had 2 goals and 1 assist, Cunningham had a goal and an assist and Mueller had a pair of assists. Cunningham will certainly be missed for however long he is out.
- Roadrunners go 4- for-8 on the power play. Despite being dominated in puck possession for the entire game, the Roadrunners ability to capitalize on the power play (along with another great game from Adin Hill) won them this game.
- Adin Hill continues to shine. Friday night was business as usual for star Roadrunners goaltender Adin Hill. He faced 42 shots; stopping 40 of them, posting an outstanding 0.952 save percentage. Hill seems to get better every game and has been absolutely unreal in net all season long.
- Roadrunners still getting badly outshot and losing the possession game. The Roadrunners were outshot 42-24 and were out-possessed 58% to 42% (according to the system described below). Like I have said many times before relying on your goalie to carry you to victory is an unsustainable way to win a hockey games. Its common sense, if you give your opponent a lot of opportunities to score (by giving them tons shots) and if you let them limit your shots (by allowing them to constantly have the puck) you are going to lose more times than not. Adin Hill has kept the Roadrunners in many games this season, but he won’t be here forever and if the Roadrunners want to keep winning when he is gone (or has an off-night) this will need to change.
Measuring puck possession
This will be the first article where I include puck possession statistics. I chose to do this because providing a way to quantify puck possession is better than me saying that one team out-possessed the other with nothing to back it up. Giving puck possession a number will also help you better see the connection between puck possession and the outcome of a game. Since AHL statisticians do not provide official puck possession statistics, I came up with my own system of approximating each team’s puck possession.
In each period I would count how many times each team could gain possession and pass the puck 3 times without a turnover. For example, if the Roadrunners successfully passed the puck three times without it being intercepted, they would gain one point. Similarly, if they made 6 passes in of a single possession, 2 points were awarded. To approximate the split between puck possession, each team’s total amount of 3-pass plays is divided by the grand total of 3-pass plays from both teams and is turned into a percentage.
I chose three passes because through my experience as a player and a spectator that is the most reasonable number. Three is reasonable because if the Roadrunners get the puck in the neutral zone, pass it once or twice, and dump it in for a line change, that means they probably held on to the puck for 10 seconds or less. In the time it takes to make three passes, there is a lot of time where the other team is trying to get the puck; indicating a solid amount of puck possession, usually 10 or more seconds.
Although there is some room for human error, this method will provide a reasonably accurate picture of possession time in this game and future games.