Game #18: Ontario (2) at Tucson (3)
SOG: ONT (25) – TUC (38)
PP: ONT (1/3) – TUC (2/5)
ONT SCORING: Frk (8), Kupari (4)
TUC SCORING: Fasching (5pp), Merkley (3pp), Miele (5)
KACHINA SATURDAY, WINNING SATURDAY
Despite only leading for 68 seconds Saturday, the Roadrunners were able to advance to 14-4 thanks to yet another come-from-behind victory.
A rare first period goal allowed for Tucson, just their ninth in 18 games, set Ontario ahead, a lead they would double in the second on the power play.
Despite impressive play from netminder Matthew Villalta in his first AHL start for the Reign, Tucson was able to break through late in the second with a power play goal of their own. Hudson Fasching, the recipient of some fluid puck movement from Nick Merkley and Brayden Burke, was able to extend his current point streak to five games with his fifth goal in as many contests.
Still trailing 2-1 for the majority of the third period, the team’s 20thgoal on the man advantage of the season came with 3:21 remaining in regulation, this time from Merkley. Only nine seconds into their power play opportunity, Merkley took a cross-ice feed from Burke and went back across the body of Villalta from the right faceoff dot to tie the game at two.
With momentum fully in their favor, 2:15 later Andy Mielecompleted the comeback for Tucson with the evening’s deciding goal. Defenseman Dysin Mayo took the puck all the way from in front of the Ontario bench to down below the goal line where he would drop it off for Brayden Burke; Burke then slid the puck out in front of the Reign crease to an unmarked Miele, who won it for Tucson.
Leading all skaters with three points, Burke upped his season total to 18 points in 18 games with the effort.
Earning his sixth win of the season in net was goaltender Adin Hill. Turning away 23 of 25, Hill and the crew now hit the road Tuesday to take on Bakersfield Wednesday evening.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s a 60-minute game, so you have to stay composed. Anything can happen at any point during the game. I think we did just that. There was a little stretch there in the third where they were taking it to us but we stayed positive on the bench and we knew anything could happen with the talent we have.”Andy Miele, game-winning goal scorer and one of the veteran leaders on the club, thoughtfully describing his team’s mental state over the course of the contest.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
There’s a quite bit of “killer instinct” to this team and it showed Saturday night. After Merkley tied the game and gave Tucson the momentum, the hunger only kicked to a new level and the veteran presence on the Tucson roster took everything within the next two minutes toward the Ontario net.
The Roadrunners had the wind in their sails and were taking on a goalie who may have been a bit fragile in a road building after allowing the game-tying goal late and they made Ontario pay once again.
GOTTA SEE IT
After Merkley’s power play goal knotted the score back up, it almost felt as if another goal was right around the corner due to their charge in momentum.
Sure enough, Andy on the back door.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
On the final home game of the “Movember” month for Tucson, the Miele Mustache, presented in all of its glory.