Tucson Roadrunners

Roadrunners beat Ontario Reign 3-2 at home, Christian Fischer named AHL player of the week

Game notes

In the first of a two game series against the Ontario Reign, the Tucson Roadrunners beat the Ontario Reign 3-2 . Justin Peters got the call in net for Tucson and Jack Campbell was between the pipes for Ontario. Also, prior to the game Christian Fischer was named CCM’s AHL player of the week, scoring 3 goals, 4 assists and 7 points in 3 games last week.

Chris Mueller scores on the Power Play. Source: Twitter @RoadrunnersAHL

First Period

The first period was largely defined by scoring chance upon scoring chance by Ontario. They carried the play from the opening face-off and were outshooting Tucson 11-1 10 minutes in. Throughout the period, Tucson had a hard time moving the puck past center ice.

The Reign also played the more disciplined period, drawing 0 penalties compared to Tucson’s three, this rewarded Ontario with the only goal of the period as Jonny Brodzinski got the puck past Hill on a one time slap shot on the power play . One bright spot was the play of Tucson goaltender Justin Peters who stopped 14 of 15 shots including two great glove saves during the Reign’s second power play.

Second Period

After being badly out played by Ontario in the first, the Roadrunners responded with a fantastic period of their own. Based off of the first period you’d swear the Reign and Roadrunners switched jerseys, as everything that went wrong for Tucson in the first went right in the second and vice versa. The Reign couldn’t get the puck out of their zone, the Roadrunners dominated shots 13-6 and the Reign took lots of bad penalties. The period also included a fight which saw Ontario’s Michael Latta beat Dakota Mermis.

The Roadrunners scored both of their goals on the power play, one on a 5 on 3 where Chirs Mueller buried his 8th of the year, off of a great pass from Jamie McBain (above). The second goal was Henrik Samuelsson’s second tally of the season as he got the puck just above Campbell’s pad with a wrister from the high-slot.

Third Period

The third period was more evenly matched, unlike the first and second period, with both teams making plays and getting scoring chances. A memorable moment in the early stages of the third was a desperation save by Justin Peters, where he slid across the net, stopping a 2 on 1 (below). Tucson’s six shots in the period did not tell the full story as many of the Roadrunners shot attempts were blocked or missed just wide.

Ontario struck first in the final frame as Adrian Kempe went high-glove on Peters through traffic. It was an excellent shot and a smart decision by Kempe to use the Roadrunners defensemen as screen, Peters didn’t even see it. Later, Michalek found the back of the net for Tucson off of a nice wrist shot from the point, leaving the final score at 3-2.

Takeaways 

Positives 

  1. Justin Peters bounces back.  Peters was brought in by the Coyotes organization over as a veteran goaltender with NHL experience, that could help the Roadrunners in their first season and see NHL action if necessary. A member of the reigning Eastern Conference champions, the Hershey Bears, Peters’ transition from the Capitals organization has been anything but smooth. Prior to last night he had an extremely sub-par  4.59 GAA (goals against average, similar in concept to ERA in baseball, lower is better) and 0.846 save percentage (ideally a decent goaltender has at least a 3.00 GAA and a 0.900 save percentage).  To say he’s struggled is an understatement, so a game with two 2 goals against and a 0.943 SV% is definitely a nice return to form.
  2. Roadrunners second period. As they’ve done all season, the Roadrunners played their best hockey in the second period. They took control and set the tone for the rest of the game.

Negatives 

  1. Ontario’s first period.  Being able to hold your opponent to a single shot on goal in the first ten minutes of a game is quite a feat and Ontario did exactly that to Tucson in the first period. The Roadrunners should count their blessings and thank Peters that Ontario was up by only one after 20 minutes.
  2. Discipline. The Roadrunners gave Ontario 7 power plays which is how Ontario scored both of their goals. If a team is given that many chances with a man advantage, they are bound to convert on at least a few of them.

Box Score 

Source: theahl.com

Scoring Summary 

Source: theahl.com

Look for the Roadrunners to close out their 5 game homestead with another win against Ontario tomorrow.

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