Game #55 Preview: Tucson vs. Bakersfield
By: Alex Kinkopf
March 17, 2017 1:24 PM
Game #55 – Tucson (24-24-6-0) vs Bakersfield (26-23-5-1)
7:05 PM MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #46 Dave Lewis, #33 Reid Anderson
Linesmen: #7 Neil Campbell, #81 Travis Smith
BAKO’S BACK: Tonight marks the seventh of eight meetings with the Condors this season, and the third of Bakersfield’s four scheduled visits to Tucson Arena. The Condors are playing the first of a two-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday night. The Roadrunners are playing the first of a two-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 5-0 loss to the Ontario Reign on Sunday.
BUNTING ON BAKERSFIELD: “I think these are definitely the biggest games of our season so far,” Michael Bunting said Friday. “If we can win these two games it’s going to be huge for us, we’ll gain a lot of ground on [the Condors]. We need to come in and focus, and we need to win these two games. We just have to have a positive mindset and bring a lot of energy.”
PROJECTED LINEUP: The team held a morning skate at Tucson Arena in anticipation of tonight’s game. The lines the team has used in practice the previous two days are below. Adin Hill was the first goaltender off the ice and is expected to start in net.
LAURENT DAUPHIN – CHRIS MUELLER – JOE WHITNEY
MICHAEL BUNTING – GRAYSON DOWNING – JEREMY MORIN
ERIC SELLECK – TYLER GAUDET – CHRISTIAN FISCHER
MITCH MOROZ – RYAN MACINNIS – CONOR GARLAND – BRANDEN TROOCK
JARRED TINORDI – JAMIE MCBAIN
DAVID MUSIL – ZBYNEK MICHALEK
DAKOTA MERMIS – KYLE WOOD
DYSIN MAYO – BRANDON BURLON
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the teams’ previous meeting on December 21 at Tucson Arena, the Roadrunners came away with a 5-4 overtime victory. Laurent Dauphin and Ryan MacInnis each scored a pair of goals; Chris Mueller netted the game-winner in overtime. Marek Langhamer made 36 saves in the win. The Roadrunners are 4-1-1-0 against the Condors this season.
A FIGHTING CHANCE: The Condors come into the night holding the Pacific Division’s fourth and final playoff spot. The Roadrunners currently sit in sixth-place with a .500 win percentage, trailing Bakersfield’s .527 mark and Stockton’s .518. The Heat visit the first-place San Jose Barracuda tonight. Can the Roadrunners gain some ground with a win over the Condors tonight?
HOME STRETCH: The Roadrunners will play seven of their next nine games on home-ice at Tucson Arena, where they’ve posted a 14-8-3-0 record this year. Can the team take advantage of hospitable territory and string together a strong set of victories?
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: You can catch tonight’s action on AHL Live. Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Tom Callahan and color commentator Tim Gassen will have the radio call on AM 1450 KTZR, which can be listened to for free HERE. Callahan’s radio coverage of tonight’s contest will begin at 6:50 PM MST.