Coming off of a dominant 5-2 win last night, the Tucson Roadrunners lost the second game of their two-game series against the Iowa Wild 2-0. Wednesday night was also the Tucson Roadrunners’ first loss against the Iowa Wild in team history as the Roadrunners were 5-0-0 against Iowa heading into the game. In net, Tucson’s Adin Hill got his second straight start against Iowa, and Kaapo Kahkonen replaced Andrew Hammond between the pipes for the Wild.
Wednesday night featured the same opponent, but an entirely different outcome for the Roadrunners. The energy that helped the Roadrunners create odd-man rushes and many quality scoring chances last night was entirely absent tonight.
The scoreless first period started out slow for both teams, with each team having less than three shots each at the game’s ten-minute mark. Though the Roadrunners outshot the Wild 7-3 in the first period, the vast majority of Tucson’s shots were perimeter shots from low-percentage areas of the ice; a theme that would continue throughout the night.
After being thoroughly outplayed last night, Iowa made adjustments, tightening up their defensive play and did not give Tucson the time or space to create quality scoring chances. Iowa eventually broke the scoreless tie just under five minutes into the second period as Iowa’s Mitch McLain banged in a loose puck in front of the net.
Later in the second period, Iowa widened their lead as a Roadrunners’ defensive zone turnover allowed the Wild’s Cal O’Reilly to pass to Gerald Mayhew, whose one-timer was deflected past Adin Hill by Will Bitten. As with the first period, the third period was also scoreless, leaving the final score at 2-0.
Roadrunners forward, Michael Bunting thought his team could take away several important lessons from tonight’s game, saying “We shouldn’t take any team lightly. Obviously, last night we had success, won 5-2. But you know, we still need to come out strong, come out fast, and play our game. I don’t think we started with that, but you know [we need to] put that game away and move forward Saturday and Sunday because those games are huge.”
When asked about what might have made his team create more chances and be more competitive Wednesday night, Roadrunners head coach Jay Varady said “Our second help all over the ice. We weren’t quick enough, I thought we played slow at times with the puck. We had plays to make and didn’t execute those plays. So we have to be a little more crisp than we were tonight.”
The Roadrunners will look to bounce back this weekend in a pair of games against the San Jose Barracuda Saturday and Sunday. The puck drops at 7:05 PM Saturday and 4:05 PM Sunday here at the Tucson Convention Center Arena.