Tuesday night, the Tucson Roadrunners lost to the San Diego Gulls 5-3. The game was the last of the Roadrunners current 3 game home stand before they head out to California for a five game road trip. In goal Adin Hill received his second straight start and Dustin Tokarski got the call for San Diego.
The Roadrunners played with intensity in the first, looking like a hungry team that badly needs a win. Tucson played tough against San Diego right out of the gate, with Kyle Wood’s seeing-eye shot finding the back of the net just three minutes into the game.
Wood floats. pic.twitter.com/ApLctEhKPm
Halfway through, San Diego’s Antoine Langaniere buried loose puck right infront of Hill, closing out the scoring for the period. Shots at the end of 20 were 8-6 Tucson.
Tucson took a slight step back in the second, allowing a dangerous San Diego Gulls team a power play 4 minutes into the period. The Gulls did not waste their man advantage as Corey Tropp hammered home yet another rebound in front of Adin Hill. Later on a 5-on-3 Kyle Wood added to his stellar night and season with another snipe from the point off of Mueller’s 36th assist of the season.
Big Dog’s gotta eat. pic.twitter.com/owcoDBEq64
As they have at many points this season, the Roadrunners allowed the Gulls to dominate puck possession. The Gulls’ superior puck management gave the Gulls a solid 30 seconds of offensive zone puck possession, which gave Jordan Samuels-Thomas enough time to score the go-ahead goal.
Prior to the third it didn’t look too bad for Tucson, the score was 3-2 and the game was within reach, but in the last frame everything fell apart. San Diego, came out to a stronger start in a period where the Roadrunners needed to be ready to play, scoring the first goal 2:30 in. Brandon Trook however, was able to bring the Roadrunners back with in one with deflection off of MacInnis’ odd angle shot.
Mac finds Troock!
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsUnfortunately for the Roadrunners, Kalle Kossila sealed their fate, putting the gulls up by 2 more than halfway through the third. The fifth goal againt prompted Roadrunners head coach Mark Lamb to pull Adin Hill, replacing him with Marek Langhamer for the first time this season.
- Muller and Wood still playing well. Perhaps the only bright spot in for the Roadrunners in this loss was the play of defenseman Kyle Wood and center Chris Mueller. Wood’s two power play goals raise his season total to 13, a very impressive number for a defenseman, especially in his first year of pro hockey. Mueller’s pair of apples give him 36 assists on the season; good enough for third in the league and first in the west.
- Weak forecheck. One of the most frustrating part of this game was the Roadrunners forecheck. In the third, when they were down 5-3, Tucson would consistently have just one forward attacking and four guys preparing to defend back in the neutral zone. That is a strategy that teams up by two goals, not down by two goals use. When you’re down 2 with 9 minutes left, you need to take more risks defensively, and have at least two guys up in their zone forechecking. It was as if they had given up on the game.
- Roadrunners need to get the puck on the net. The Roadrunners had only 19 shots on goal compared to 29 for San Diego and it wasn’t due to a lack of opportunity. Tucson has plenty of chances to shoot, but instead they kept trying to force plays to happen, resulting in many turnovers. As a result, there were many instance where the Roadrunners carry the puck into the Gulls zone, lose it almost immediately, and fail to get a scoring chance. To get out of this rough stretch, Tucson needs to go back to basics, get pucks deep and get pucks on the net. Brendan Trook’s third period goal is a perfect example of why they need to do this. It was from a weak angle, but he and MacInnis made sure that they at least gave the Roadrunners some sort of scoring chance and sure enough, Trook found the back of the net.
Look for the Roadrunners to bounce back with a win on the road this Friday against the Gulls.