In a thrilling Saturday night matchup, the Tucson Roadrunners downed the San Jose Barracuda 3-2 in overtime. Scoring the first hat trick of both his professional hockey and AHL career Saturday night, Lane Pederson was responsible for all three of Tucson’s goals.
Six points out of a playoff spot, with three games in hand on the team they’re chasing, the Colorado Eagles, Saturday night was another must-win game for the Roadrunners. Although San Jose was strong out of the gate, Tucson played better and took more control of the game with each passing minute.
After getting out shot 7-1 in the opening 13 minutes of the game, Tucson out shot San Jose 32-15 in the remaining 47 minutes. Burying his own rebound on the powerplay, San Jose’s Dylan Grambell opened the scoring. Tucson, however, would tie the game before the opening period was over when Jeremy Gregoire found Lane Pederson all alone in the slot.
A San Jose short-handed goal scored by John McCarthy temporarily restored the Barracuda’s one-goal lead early in the second period. Pederson tied the game again with a five-hole shot on the powerplay, leaving the game tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes of play.
Though they did not find the back of the net in the third, the Roadrunners played their best hockey of the night in the game’s final period. Tucson outshot San Jose 12-4 in the period, giving San Jose very little time in the Roadrunners’ defensive zone, while consistently maintaining offensive zone possession.
Hooking Tucson’s Michael Bunting with 1:06 left in regulation, San Jose gave the Roadrunners a 54-second 4-on-3 powerplay to start the sudden-death overtime period. Just five seconds after the San Jose penalty expired, Michael Chaput’s pass found Lane Pederson, who completed his hat trick with a beautiful one-timer.
Lane Pederson remained humble when he shared his thoughts on scoring his first career hat trick “[I] just [got] unbelievable passes from everybody. I had a few more chances tonight, so I probably should have capitalized earlier. But [Gregoire, Burke, and Chaput] made really good passes. I was just in the right place, right time I guess.”
When discussing his team’s performance tonight, Tucson head coach, Jay Varady said “Yeah I thought we were a little loose in the first at times. I thought [San Jose] had some looks and I thought our game just settled down as we went through the 60 minutes. I thought [the Roadrunners] had a lot of good looks there at the end of regulation and we were obviously able to cap it off in overtime.”
With the win, Tucson now has the chance to tie the Colorado Eagles for a playoff spot if they win tomorrow afternoon against San Jose and sweep their two-game home series against Colorado next weekend.