Wednesday night in the second game of a two-game home series, the Tucson Roadrunners shut out the Texas Stars 4-0. The game followed a 6-3 win Monday afternoon against the Stars. Earning a shutout on the road in his previous start against the Colorado Eagles last Saturday, Adin Hill registered shutouts in back-to-back AHL starts for the first time this season and for the second time in his young career.
Aside from an early penalty that saw the Stars gain an early advantage in shots on goal, the Roadrunners dominated the pace of play and puck possession throughout the night. A bit of puck luck helped the Roadrunners get on the board first, as Cam Dineen’s intended centering pass unintentionally went off of a Texas player’s stake into the back of the net.
At the first period’s halfway point, as the Stars attempted to breakout of their defensive zone, a poke check by Lane Pederson kept the puck in the zone, allowing him to pass to Michael Bunting who’s five-hole shot put the Roadrunners up 2-0. Less than two minutes later, Brayden Burke’s seventh of the season gave Tucson 3-0 lead, as Robbie Russo’s long breakout pass caught Texas flatfooted.
After grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first, the Roadrunners played a smart defensive game and managed the puck well, allowing them to keep Texas off of the score sheet for the rest of the night. Still down by three with five minutes left in the game, Texas pulled the goalie, opting for an extra attacker in the game’s closing minutes.
Despite not being able to clear the puck for several minutes at the end of the game, Hudson Fasching solidified the Tucson victory, scoring an empty net goal with only 15 seconds on the clock. Notably, Bunting’s first period goal extended his point streak to five games. Since being reassigned to Tucson by the Coyotes last Saturday, he has scored 8 points (5G, 3A) in five games.
Throughout the season, the Roadrunners have been one of the best defensive teams in the AHL, allowing one goal or less against a game in 9 out of 36 games this year. When asked about what contributed to his team’s excellent defensive play tonight, Roadrunners defenseman Cam Dineen said “we went up pretty early in the game, we had to take their pushback, obviously they’re going to try to score, but we did a good job keeping them to the outside, and obviously [Adin Hill] in net was unbelievable again.”
Roadrunners starting goaltender, Adin Hill, when talking about the extended 6-on-4 at the end of the game, echoed his teammate’s about Tucson’s defensive play saying that “our guys did a great job battling for those loose pucks up front and finding a way to clear them. I think the whole team did a great job tonight, and we came away with two wins.”
Tucson’s record at home has now improved to 13-5-0-0 on the season, and are 7-3-0-0 in their past ten games.