In the first three of their final 4 home games of the season, the Tucson Roadrunners won two straight against the San Jose Barracuda and the San Antonio Rampage, but lost big 8-2 against the San Diego Gulls last night.
3/26 vs. San Jose Barracuda
Sunday night was an impressive 5-4 shootout win over the Barracuda, the top team in the Pacific Division. Through the first 40 minutes of the game the Roadrunners played like the team they once were, not the team that had lost its previous six contests heading into the game.
Through 2 periods, the Roadrunners were winning 4-1 and the shot clock was level at 20 a piece. The goal-scorers for the Roadrunners were Michael Bunting, Chris Mueller, Brandon Burlon and Branden Trook. It was in the third period and overtime that the Roadrunners nearly let this one get away from them.
In the final 20 minutes and the 5 minute OT period the Roadrunners were outshot by an unbelievable 23-3 margin, allowing San Jose to score three unanswered goals to force OT and a shootout. The shootout hero and Roadrunners’ savior was the 21-year-old former Moncton Wildcat, Conor Garland, who scored the lone shootout goal.
3/28 vs. San Antonio Rampage
Following their shootout victory that halted the losing streak at 6, Tucson dispatched the last-place San Antonio Rampage 5-2 in regulation. San Antonio, AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, came out strong out of the gate, scoring both of their goals in the first 1:37 of the game.
After that the resilient Roadrunners got their heads back in it, scored five unanswered goals and eventually outshot the Rampage 33-29. Marek Langhamer got the win for Tucson and Ryan MacInnis, Jeremy Morin, Chris Mueller, Conor Garland and Laurent Dauphin were the goal-scorers.
3/31 vs. San Diego
Heading into last night’s game the Roadrunners, 7 points out of the Pacific Division’s final playoff spot and on a two game winning streak, Tucson looked like they were finally on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, the Roadrunners sacrificed two points they could not afford to lose in a lop-sided 8-2 loss against the second-place San Diego Gulls.
Much like the game before the visitors came out to a hot start, going up 2-0 just minutes into the game. However, unlike the game against the Rampage, Tucson could not turn things around going down 6-1 by the end of the first period.
The Roadrunners regained some control in the second and third periods, scoring a goal and only conceding two more goals against, leaving the final score at 8-2. Shots after 60 minutes of play were 30-26 in favor of San Diego and the lone goal scorers for Tucson were Jeremy Morin and Laurent Dauphin.
A Look Ahead
Tonight’s game against the San Diego Gulls will be the final home game of the Roadrunners’ inaugural season in Tucson. Currently sitting at 7th in the division and with Bakersfield’s 3-1 loss against Ontario last night, the Roadrunners are still 7 points out of a playoff spot.
The Roadrunners will play their final 5 games of the season on the road and if they can pull off a win tonight, win 4 out of 5 on the upcoming road trip, the Roadrunners will grab 10 crucial points. If they can do this and if Stockton and Bakersfield lose most of their games down the stretch, Tucson could still see playoff hockey.