By: Alex Kinkopf
February 18, 2017 10:58 PM
The Roadrunners scored five unanswered goals en route to their first victory since February 3, beating the San Diego Gulls 5-2 Saturday night at the Valley View Casino Center.
The win snapped the club’s five-game losing streak, and bumped them back into a playoff position to fourth-place in the Pacific Division.
Facing a two-goal deficit late in the second period, and to a San Diego team they’ve struggled mightily against this season, the Roadrunners responded in shocking fashion to quiet the AHL’s hottest club.
“It’s huge. It’s huge to get a win,” said Mark Lamb. “When you’re on a losing streak a lot of good things have to happen for you to get out of it.”
And boy, did good things happen.
Chris Mueller got the Roadrunners on the board with 1:36 left in the second period, cutting Tucson’s deficit to one when he slammed home a one-time feed from Anthony DeAngelo on the team’s third power play of the evening.
The Gulls came into the night 19-0-1-0 this season when leading after two periods.
Just over three minutes into the third, Zbynek Michalek rifled home a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and past San Diego’s Jhonas Enroth. Branden Troock, with the primary assist on Michalek’s goal, registered his first point in a Roadrunners uniform.
With 7:26 left in regulation, Ryan MacInnis beat Enroth with a wrist shot to give the Roadrunners their first lead of the evening. MacInnis goal was initiated by Tucson’s strong physical presence, resulting in a Gulls turnover in their own zone.
Three minutes later, Branden Troock scored his first goal in a Roadrunners uniform to give Tucson a 4-2 lead. Mitch Moroz found Troock with a pass from the left corner, registering his first point with the team.
Laurent Dauphin added an empty-net goal with 49 seconds left in regulation.
The Roadrunners are now 20-1-1-0 this season when scoring three or more goals.
“When you win against the best team in the league pretty much, it’s a real huge character win,” said Lamb. “A win is a win, it doesn’t matter against who, but when you’re playing against a team like San Diego, I think it makes it a little sweeter.”
The team will complete their season-long six-game road trip Wednesday night when they take on the Ontario Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 8:00 PM MST.
The Roadrunners return home for a pair of games at Tucson Arena against the San Jose Barracuda on Friday, February 24 and Saturday, February 25 – both of which are scheduled to start at 7:05 PM. The team will celebrate ‘Hockey Weekend Across America’, and each game features food and drink specials.