Tucson Roadrunners

Roadrunners drop two straight on the road in Stockton and San Jose, Adin Hill returns

In two road games Friday and Saturday night, the Tucson Roadrunners lost 3-2 to the Stockton Heat in OT, and 5-2 against the San Jose Barracuda. Friday’s game saw Adin Hill’s return to the lineup as he was recently recalled from Tucson’s ECHL affiliate, the Rapid City Rush.

Friday January 6th vs. Stockton 

Adin Hill making a save on Ryan Lomberg
Source: Twitter @RoadrunnersAHL

The Roadrunners first game coming off of back-to-back home losses against San Antonio was a solid overall effort. In the first period, Kyle Wood scored his eighth goal of the season, tying the game at one following Stockton’s goal earlier in the period.

After Wood’s goal, scored with less than three minutes left in the first Tucson carried the carried the momentum into the second period. In the second period, they outshot Stockton 17-10, scored and headed into the third period with a 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately, the Roadrunners followed on their strong second period with a weak third, a bad habit that has cost them many times this season. Stockton dominated possession, giving them an enormous 14-6 shot advantage in the last frame. The Heats’s strong play allowed Keith Aulie to bury his first of the season, sending the game into overtime. Stockton’s continued carrying the play in overtime, ending the game just 1:04 into extra time.

Source: theahl.com

Source: theahl.com

Saturday January 7th vs. San Jose 

Jacob Middleton (San Jose) and Stefan Fournier (Tucson) in front of San Jose goaltender Mantas Armalis.
Source: Twitter @RoadrunnersAHL

Saturday’s game was the first meeting between the Roadrunners and Barracuda franchises since the spring of 2015, which was before the formation of the Pacific division at the start of the 2015-16 AHL season. At that point, both teams were cross-state, divisional rivals in Massachusetts as the Springfield Falcons (now Tucson) and the Worcester Sharks (now San Jose) for nine years. So despite Tucson being new to the division and San Jose joining it a season ago, these two teams have history of playing each other.

As is the traditional custom, Adin Hill was not at first supposed to play on back-to-back nights and was replaced in net by Justin Peters. Unfortunately, Peters was pulled and swapped out for Hill nine minutes into the game after the Barracuda scored three goals on five shots. Hill however, stopped the bleeding allowing only one goal on 27 shots (with the fifth goal being an empty netter).

Through 40 minutes of play, the Barracuda had accumulated an insurmountable 4-0 lead. The Roadrunners did show a signs of life in the third scoring two goals, including Lindsay Sparks’ first career AHL goal and outshooting San Jose 14-8.

Down 4-2 Tucson head coach Mark Lamb took a chance pulling Adin Hill, choosing to use 6 attackers in an effort to score two goals and tie the game. Although a worthy risk, it didn’t pay off as San Jose scored an empty net goal, leaving the final score at 5-2.

 

Source: theahl.com

Source: theahl.com

Takeaways 

Positives

  1. Adin Hill’s return. After spending a few weeks down in the ECHL, Hill made a strong return against Stockton making 36 saves on 39 shots. He gave his team a chance to win by keeping the score tied in the third period against Stockton. Hill was also great in relief of Peters against San Jose stopping 27 of 26 shots in 50:02 of play.
  2. Pucks on net. The Roadrunners averaged 34 shots on goal in both games this weekend, with 33 against Stockton and 35 against San Jose. Although they ended up losing both games, it’s great to see the Roadrunners generating offense.

Negatives 

  1. Stockton third period. Tucson had a 2-1 lead heading into the third period against Stockton and were playing a very strong game up until that point. The weak third period which saw the Heat outshoot the Roadrunners 14-6 ultimately won the game for Stockton.
  2. Three goals on five shots. Justin Peters is a good goaltender, he is a veteran of 80 NHL games (as of the end of the 2015-16 season) and guided the Hershey Bears to an Eastern Conference Championship and to a Calder Cup Final appearance just last season. His career shows that he is capable of much better than 3 goals on 5 shots against San Jose, and better is to be expected.

Looks for the Roadrunners to bounce back from a disappointing road trip when they take on the Manitoba Moose at home this Tuesday January 10th at 7:05 PM.

 

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