By: Alex Kinkopf
February 03, 2017 10:56 PM
In their return from the All Star break, the Roadrunners snapped a season-long five-game losing streak in a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Charlotte Checkers Friday night at Gila River Arena.
For the team, which took advantage of a much-needed break after a heavy, heavy month of January, the win was just about as replenishing as their time away from the rink was.
“It was nice, everybody took a little break and got their legs back,” Adin Hill said following the game. “So it was good, we needed that little break, we got our minds refocused and we got the two points tonight.”
One player who didn’t get the amount of rest the majority of the roster did was Kyle Wood, who travelled to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania earlier in the week to attend the 2017 AHL All Star Classic.
Wood, however, looked just as refreshed as the rest of the bunch.
The Roadrunners’ defenseman netted the first goal of the evening in the final minute of the first period, jamming home a Chris Mueller feed as he pinched in from the point on Tucson’s second power play of the night.
In the second, it was Wood again who found the net for Tucson, wristing home a shot as he walked in from atop Charlotte’s zone to give the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead with 12:52 remaining in the middle frame.
Having turned away all 24 of Charlotte’s shots through the first two periods, Adin Hill finally surrendered a goal just under five minutes into the third.
Chris Mueller was awarded a penalty shots moments after Charlotte’s first goal, but was turned away by Michael Leighton.
The Checkers tacked on another goal, tying the game 2-2, with 9:44 left in regulation.
In the final moments of regulation, Anthony Duclair corralled a puck in the neutral zone, entered Charlotte territory, and after making a flurry of moves through Checkers defenders, found Tyler Gaudet with a pass, who then found a wide-open Laurent Dauphin on the back-door to set-up the game-winning goal.
Dauphin one-timed home Gaudet’s feed with 21 seconds left in the game, giving the Roadrunners a 3-2 lead, the night’s eventual final score.
“It’s huge; it’s a huge win,” said Head Coach Mark Lamb. “We’re up 2-0 going into the third, and then we were holding on. We didn’t score on our power play, we didn’t score on our penalty shot, so the momentum was really starting to switch the other way, and to score like that – it was a great individual effort. Duclair, he took it, he made some plays, and it turned into a real nice goal, and usually that doesn’t happen at that time of the game.”
Kyle Wood (2G) led all Roadrunners players in points scored (2), Christian Fischer in shots registered (6). Adin Hill made 37 saves in the victory.
The Roadrunners will return to Gila River Arena Saturday night for a rematch with the Checkers, the puck scheduled to drop at 7:05 PM.
*Photos taken by: Chris Hook