First Round, Game Three: Tucson Roadrunners (1) at Coachella Valley Firebirds (5)

Firebirds win series 2-1

SOG: TUC (32) – CV (32)

PP: TUC (1/2) – CV (0/2)

TUCSON SCORING: Adam Cracknell (1 PP)

COACHELLA VALLEY SCORING: Ville Petman (1), Shane Wright (1), Kole Lind (2, 3 EN), Tye Kartye (2)


Tucson, Arizona – The Tucson Roadrunners took on the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a win-or-go-home Game Three on Sunday in Palm Desert, where the Firebirds advanced with a 5-1 victory over Tucson. Coachella Valley jumped out to a quick lead with four goals in the span of 3:33 to make it 4-0 in the opening 7:22 of the first period. Captain Adam Cracknell lit the lamp for Tucson in the final 2:28 of regulation for his first goal of the 2023 Playoffs, while Tyler Parks was in net for the final 52:38 of the contest and stopped all 24 shots faced in his AHL postseason debut.


Tucson Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell put Tucson on the board in Sunday’s Game Three against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The goal was the final tally of the season for the Roadrunners and came while on the power-play with 2:28 remaining in regulation. Tucson and Coachella Valley each took two trips to the man-advantage on Sunday, with Cracknell’s goal marking the only power-play goal of the contest. In his first season with Tucson, Cracknell set AHL career highs with 32 assists and 53 total points (21g 32a).


PARKS PUTS IN WORK – Roadrunners goaltender Tyler Parks made his Calder Cup Playoffs debut on Sunday when he entered the game with 7:22 gone by in the first period. Parks stopped all 24 shots faced in 50:45 of action, as Tucson held the Firebirds to just one empty-net goal over the final 52:38 of regulation. After making his season debut with the Roadrunners on January 20, Parks started in net for 13 of Tucson’s final 16 regular season games with eight total wins on the year.


The Roadrunners fell in Game Three on Sunday to the Coachella Valley Firebirds, but were the only Pacific Division team in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs to both win a game on the road and force a decisive Game Three against their opponent. After trailing 4-0 entering the second period, Tucson held the Firebirds scoreless in the middle frame and outshot Coachella Valley 17 to three in the third period as they battled to keep their season alive. The Roadrunners scored the final of the contest for the second time in the three-game set with Coachella Valley, finishing the year with a power-play goal in the final 2:28 of regulation.


“We knew what we were up against. Both teams had their backs against the wall to start the game, and they capitalized early. That’s a good hockey club, and so are we, that’s just the way it went [Sunday]. I’m proud of all the guys in there, there were ups and downs throughout the season. Guys got NHL games, fought through injuries, there’s always a lot of positives.”

Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell on closing out his first season in Tucson on Sunday with a Game Three loss to the Coachella Valley Firebirds.


Coachella Valley opened the scoring in Sunday’s Game Three with a goal 3:49 into the contest, scored by Ville Petman to give the Firebirds a 1-0 lead. Coachella Valley forward Shane Wright made it 2-0 lead 2:07 later with his first point of the postseason, and Kole Lind followed up Wright with another goal 29 seconds later for a quick 3-0 advantage. Tye Kartye capped off a stretch of four goals in 3:33 for the Firebirds, as they led 4-0 with 7:22 gone by in the opening frame and took their lead into the second period. Netminder Tyler Parks entered the game for Tucson after Coachella Valley’s fourth goal, and closed out the first period by stopping all five shots faced. Parks continued to keep the Firebirds off the board in the second period, turning aside a season high 17 shots in the frame to keep the deficit at four entering the final 20 minutes of regulation. Tucson flipped the script in the third period in terms of shots on goal, outshooting Coachella Valley by a count of 17 to three. Still trailing 4-0, the Roadrunners pulled Tyler Parks in favor of a six-on-five attack with 9:49 left in regulation, but Coachella Valley forward Kole Lind cashed in on the empty net 41 seconds later for his second goal of the night and a 5-0 Firebirds lead. Tucson went on their second power-play of the contest with 2:38 left to play in the third period and Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell wasted no time lighting the lamp ten seconds into the man-advantage to make it a 5-1 game. Forwards J.S. Dea and Mike Carcone each picked up assists on the goal, as Carcone finished the First Round with four points (2g 2a) over the three-game set. Cracknell’s tally was the final goal of Sunday’s game, as the Roadrunners were eliminated by the Firebirds with a final score of 5-1.

(Photo Credits: Coachella Valley Firebirds)