By: Alex Kinkopf
October 14, 2016 12:05 PM
Good afternoon from the Valley View Casino Center, where the Roadrunners held what was roughly a 45-minute morning skate ahead of the club’s first-ever game against the San Diego Gulls at 7:00 PM PST.
During the AM shoot around, the team announced the official opening night roster for the club’s 2016-17 inaugural American Hockey League Season. Goaltender Adin Hill’s assignment to the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush was also made official.
On the ice this morning were 22 players; two goalies, six defensemen, and 14 forwards. Forward Henrik Samuelsson traveled with the team but did not join the skate - he spent the morning running through off-ice workouts. Justin Peters was the first goaltender to leave the ice, so it is likely he will draw the start in net for the Roadrunners’ debut. Forwards Trevor Cheek and Matia Marcantuoni skated as extras on their respective lines and remained on the ice for extra work with Assistant Coach Mark Hardy and goaltender Marek Langhamer, so those two will likely be tonight’s healthy scratches.
No changes were made to the pairings and groupings the team skated with during the week in Glendale. Forwards were adorned in brick-red practice jerseys, while defensemen and goaltenders modeled black. This morning in San Diego, the Roadrunners aligned thusly:
RED: BRENDAN PERLINI – CHRIS MUELLER – CRAIG CUNNINGHAM
WHITE: GARRET ROSS – RYAN MACINNIS – CHRISTIAN FISCHER – (TREVOR CHEEK)
GREY: MICHAEL BUNTING – TYLER GAUDET – CONOR GARLAND
BLUE: ERIC SELLECK – MARK OLVER – STEFAN FOURNIER – (MATIA MARCANTUONI)
DAKOTA MERMIS – ANTHONY DEANGELO
BRANDON BURLON – KYLE WOOD
JUSTIN HACHE – DYSIN MAYO
Near the end of practice, Head Coach Mark Lamb worked separately with forwards Brendan Perlini, Chris Mueller, Craig Cunningham and defensemen Anthony DeAngelo and Kyle Wood. That grouping looks to be the Roadrunners’ top power play unit if they find themselves playing in man-advantage situations Friday night.
Decals adorned the team’s helmets for the first time this season during the morning skate, which features the Roadrunner head on the sides, the official American Hockey League branding on the back left, and the players' respective numbers on the back center.
The team will don their brick-red uniforms for tonight, wearing their officially branded look for the first time in team history.
Following the skate, Head Coach Mark Lamb touched on the excitement surrounding the team’s first game, how he and Mark Hardy approached the first morning shoot around, and what he expects to take from tonight’s opening affair:
Mark Lamb, on how he feels heading into the team’s regular season opener:
I’m feeling very excited, as are the guys. In our meeting today, that’s what I said, it’s new for a lot of us, there a lot of young guys on the team, there’s a lot of the guys that were in Springfield. This is a whole different division, a whole different bunch of cities for them, it’s very exciting for everybody. We went through training camp, we’re still going back and forth, a lot of traveling, but all of that is put behind us right now, and it’s the first game. Every first game, it doesn’t matter if it’s on the road, it’s the start of a new season, it’s exciting.
Lamb, on how the coaching staff operated Friday’s morning skate:
It’s kind of like a shoot around, you get loose, you get a little sweat on. It’s all about the game, you have these pregame skates, we had the long bus ride yesterday, we had a good meal last night, so it’s good to get out there and get a little sweat going. The guys that aren’t playing, they get some conditioning to keep them up to speed for when they get into the lineup also.
Lamb, on how tonight’s game will map out the week of practices ahead:
We’ve got to get a feel, it’s all about getting a feel. You have in your head what type of team [the Gulls] have, what type of league it is and everything, but until you feel any situation – you’re optimistic about everything, but you really don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. At the end of the day, you go out there and you compete, usually the team that competes makes the less amount of mistakes and wins the hockey game.
Enjoy your Friday; a busy day ensues here from what many refer to as 'America's Finest City'. Please, at your convenience, take-in a handful of photos from the team's first-ever game day morning skate: