Game #1 Preview: Tucson at San Diego
By: Alex Kinkopf
October 14, 2016 3:47 PM
Game #1 – Tucson (0-0-0-0) at San Diego (0-0-0-0)
7:00 PM MST, Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
Referees: #45 Peter MacDougall, #34 Stephen Reneau
Linesmen: #81 Tanner Nua, #85 Steve Walsh
IT STARTS NOW: Tonight marks the first of 12 meetings with the Gulls this season and the first of six visits to San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center. Both clubs are playing their first regular season games of the 2016-17 campaign; the Gulls went 2-0-0-0 in the preseason, both victories coming against the Ontario Reign. The Roadrunners posted a 0-2-0-0 preseason mark, falling 4-2 to the San Jose Barracuda on October 6 and 3-2 to the Stockton Heat on October 7.
BEEN THERE: The Gulls played their first game in franchise history just over a year ago today – a 4-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on October 10, 2015. This time around, it’s the Roadrunners who are making their organizational debut. Can Tucson spoil San Diego’s home opener with a win tonight?
LINEUP: From the makeup of Friday’s pregame skate, Justin Peters looks to get the call in net for the Roadrunners, with Marek Langhamer serving as the back-up. Forwards Trevor Cheek and Matia Marcantuoni are the presumed healthy scratches. The Roadrunners should line-up as such:
BRENDAN PERLINI – CHRIS MUELLER – CRAIG CUNNINGHAM
GARRET ROSS – RYAN MACINNIS – CHRISTIAN FISCHER
MICHAEL BUNTING – TYLER GAUDET – CONOR GARLAND
ERIC SELLECK – MARK OLVER – STEFAN FOURNIER
(TREVOR CHEEK – MATIA MARCANTUONI)
DAKOTA MERMIS – ANTHONY DEANGELO
BRANDON BURLON – KYLE WOOD
JUSTIN HACHE – DYSIN MAYO
HOME COOKING: San Diego posted the third-best home record in the AHL’s Pacific Division last year, finishing the 2015-16 regular season with a 20-10-3-1 mark at the Valley View Casino Center. The Gulls earned 44 out of a possible 68 points in their host building last season, outscoring opponents 119-102.
HEY, KID!: Conor Garland, a 2015 draft pick of the Arizona Coyotes, will make his professional hockey debut tonight after spending four seasons in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats. During his last two seasons in junior, Garland almost averaged two points per game, scoring a combined 257 points (74G, 183A) over the span of 129 contests. Garland is expected to skate alongside Michael Bunting and Tyler Gaudet on the Roadrunners’ third line tonight.
WE MEET AGAIN: The primary farm clubs of the Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks haven’t played one another since March 14, 2015 – when the Coyotes’ affiliate at the time, the Portland Pirates, beat the Norfolk Admirals by a score of 2-0 at Cross Insurance Arena. The Pirates went 4-0 against the Admirals during the 2014-15 campaign, Arizona’s farm squad outscoring that of Anaheim, 13-3. A year and a half later, and 3,143 miles across the country, the teams meet again.
ROOM TO IMPROVE: The Springfield Falcons, the team purchased by the Arizona Coyotes in May to relocate and be introduced as the Tucson Roadrunners on June 18, placed 29th out of 30 teams in the AHL last season. The Falcons finished the season with a 26-42-3-5 record, earning 60 points.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch tonight’s action on AHLLive.com. Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Tom Callahan will be on the radio call on AM 1450 KTZR, which can be listened to for free HERE. Callahan’s radio coverage of tonight’s opener will begin at 6:45 PM PST.