By: Alex Kinkopf
December 26, 2016 12:38 PM
Good afternoon from the Valley View Casino Center in Southern California, and welcome back from the holiday break, where we hope you had wonderful, warm moments with your friends, family, and loved ones. The Roadrunners took to the ice at 11:15 AM for a morning skate ahead of tonight’s contest against the San Diego Gulls.
The players, staff, and coaches reported back to Tucson on Christmas day, and then aligned in the early hours of the morning to catch a flight to San Diego, arriving to the Gulls’ home barn roughly 90 minutes prior to their scheduled AM walk-through.
18 players took to the ice along with goaltenders Justin Peters and Marek Langhamer. Laurent Dauphin was absent, as there were a few speed bumps endured in his travel back from Canada. He arrived in San Diego while the team was on the ice and is expected to draw into tonight’s lineup.
Hunter Fejes, the only skater to remain on the ice for extra work, skated in Dauphin’s place on the first line with Chris Mueller and Christian Fischer, and will likely serve as this evening’s healthy scratch.
Justin Peters was the first goaltender off the ice and will likely make his fifth start of the season, his second against the Gulls.
The team, sans Dauphin, aligned as such:
HUNTER FEJES – CHRIS MUELLER – CHRISTIAN FISCHER
GARRET ROSS – MARK OLVER – TYLER GAUDET
MICHAEL BUNTING – RYAN MACINNIS – CONOR GARLAND
LINDSAY SPARKS – TREVOR CHEEK – STEFAN FOURNIER
DAKOTA MERMIS – ZBYNEK MICHALEK
JARRED TINORDI – KYLE WOOD
BRANDON BURLON – JAMIE MCBAIN
The Gulls have not played since December 17, and with eight consecutive days without a game, were called for a practice on Christmas day.
After winning a franchise-record eight consecutive games from November 11 through December 2, the Gulls have stumbled through a seven-game stretch that has seen them go 1-6-0-0, where they have been shut out three times, and their only win coming in overtime.
Tonight marks the third of 12 meetings between these two clubs this season, and the third of Tucson’s six visits to the Valley View Casino Center. The Roadrunners are 0-2-0-0 against the Gulls thus far, dropping each of their previous two visits, losing 5-3 on October 14 and 5-1 on November 30.
More to come from a beautiful game day in San Diego.