By: Alex Kinkopf
December 09, 2016 11:02 PM
The offense kicked into gear right from the get-go for the Roadrunners Friday night at Tucson Arena, and it also proved to be the ending factor in the team’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Ontario Reign.
With the win, Tucson snapped its season-long four-game losing streak, and did so in front of a boisterous crowd of 5,891 armed with Teddy Bears.
“It was another real good effort against a real good hockey team,” Mark Lamb said. “Our power play has to be the difference, and it was, but a lot of guys got a lot of ice time this weekend, a lot of experience, a lot of newness, and you’ve got to come away happy.”
The Roadrunners struck for three first period goals, the first of which came off the stick of Zbynek Michalek, who powered home a Jamie McBain cross-ice pass past Jack Campbell to put an end to the club’s 0-for-16 power play skid.
Michalek’s goal, his first of the season, sent thousands of Teddy Bears flying to the ice, all of which are benefiting Aviva Children’s Services for the holiday season.
Following a 10-plus minute cleanup period, Tucson tacked on a couple of more goals 2:53 minute span to build a 3-0 lead after the opening period.
Conor Garland netted the Roadrunners’ second goal of the evening when he beat Campbell with a wrist-shot high to the glove-side, then Chris Mueller potted the team’s third tally when we whacked home a rebound past Ontario’s netminder.
Ontario came back to tie the game with a goal in the second period, and with two more early in the third.
With the game tied 3-3 with just over five minutes left in regulation, Kyle Wood rocketed home a shot high to the short side past Campbell, registering the Roadrunners’ second power play goal of the night.
The Reign answered 23 seconds later, however, when Jonny Brodzinski beat Adin Hill to tie the game 4-4 with 4:48 to play.
The teams extended to overtime for the third time this season, and for the second time in as many meetings. Tucson, though, began the overtime frame on the power play after Michael Mersch was called for an interference infraction in the final moments of the third period.
On the first shift of overtime, Christian Fischer corralled a puck just inside Ontario’s zone, cut across the middle of the high-slot, and beat Jack Campbell with a shot against the grain to solidify a 5-4 win for the Roadrunners.
“It was a four-on-three, they had the penalty, so it was kind of a little hectic on the ice, so I just cut to the middle and shot it,” Fischer said. “There were a lot of their players in front of their goalie, so it went in there.”
Fischer’s game-winner was Tucson’s third power play of the evening; the team capitalized on three of their six man advantage opportunities.
Jamie McBain (3A) led all Roadrunners players in points scored (3), Michael Bunting in shots taken (4). Adin Hill made 33 saves in the victory.
“It’s huge,” Hill said of the win. “In the two games we played in here, we got three points, so that’s really big, especially tonight’s win to snap that winless streak, so we needed that going into next week heading into San Antonio.”
The team will return to the ice Saturday morning for practice as they begin their preparations for a pair of games against the San Antonio Rampage next weekend in Texas.
*Photos taken by: Kate Dibildox