In the final game of the Tucson’s five game home stand, the Roadrunners extended their win streak to 5 with a 4-1 win over the Ontario Reign. The game was a battle for 1st in the Pacific Division, as a regulation win put the 3rd place Roadrunners on top over the Reign who sat in first prior to the game. In goal, Ontario’s Jack Campbell and Tucson’s Justin Peters both received consecutive starts for their respective clubs.
The first period was largely a defensive battle between both teams that saw few scoring chances, shots, and tons of physical play. Much of the action took place in the neutral zone, with lots of dump-and-chase hockey. As a result, neither team scored and a total of only 10 shots were registered between both teams (6-4 Tucson).
The play finally picked up in the second as Sean Backman fired a slap shot that went post-in and past Peters just 52 seconds in. Minutes later, Justin Peters made a great save on Teddy Purcell to keep Tucson’s deficit at one. Twelve minutes later, Henrik Samuelsson hit the post and Mark Olver batted the puck out of the air, knotting it up at one.
Finishing the job. pic.twitter.com/6s24WXmk24
Tied at one, the Roadrunners blew the game up, scoring a three goals in the third period. The first came roughly halfway through the period as Olver scored his second of the game, deflecting Zbynek Michalek’s shot from the point.
Tipping well. pic.twitter.com/4hEoHyiZMW
About five Minutes later, Michalek set up another goal, hitting Hunter Fejes with a stretch-pass right up the middle of the ice. This put Fejes on a breakaway, he went forehand-backhand on Campbell, giving the Anchorage, Alaska native his first career AHL goal.
Off and running.
The Roadrunners held their 3-1 lead into the final minutes of the period, prompting Ontario to pull the goalie, allowing Christian Fischer to seal the deal at 4-1 with seven seconds left.
- Tucson has Ontario’s Number. Though a very good team, and now in 3rd after last night’s loss one team Ontario have consistently struggled against is Tucson, who is 5-1-1 against the Reign this season. Both teams are likely playoff bound and Tucson’s success against Ontario should boost the Roadrunners’ confidence in a potential playoff series.
- Henrik Samuelsson hitting his stride. A former 1st round pick for the Coyotes (27th overall in 2012), the 22-year-old Samuelsson has not lived up to expectations with Tucson this season with only a 1 goal in 13 games played prior to this week’s series against Ontario. He had a goal Monday and picked up a helper last night, giving him two points in his last two games; a great sign for the young winger.
- Tucson is a great home team. The Roadrunners have the best home record in the American Hockey League with a 0.789 point percentage at the TCC. A large part of the success they’ve had in their first season and their place in the standings is due to their strong play at home.
Look for Tucson to extend their win streak to 6 with a win on the road against the Charlotte Checkers this Saturday.