Game #1 – Tucson (0-0-0-0) at Texas (0-0-0-0)
5 PM MST, H-E-B Center at Cedar Park – Cedar Park, TX
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Roadrunners Current Roster: Click here
Referees: Beaudry Halkidis (#48), Carter Sandlak (#6)
Linesmen: Julien Fournier (#56), Michael Miggans (#18)
It’s finally here.
174 days have transpired since the heartbreak that took place at Tucson Arena on April 13, as the club came up one goal shy of locking up a spot in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.
But that page officially turns tonight.
Months of preparation, starting with the NHL’s Draft, leading through Coyotes Development Camp, Rookie Camp, Training Camp, Roadrunners Training Camp, Roadrunners preseason, for some, it’s about time.
The offseason brought depth, an absolute need, and also experience to a Tucson club that will take the ice tonight just 24 hours after naming Michael Chaput as the club’s third captain in franchise history.
1) For the first time since their first-ever game on October 14, 2016, the Roadrunners open a season on the road. The Roadrunners fell in that contest but who could forget the two track meet’s that took place at Tucson Arena to start things off the previous two years? 23 goals combined in two games! There’s always so much intrigue that goes into the first game of the season that tonight is sure to keep those of you watching on AHLTV or listening on Fox Sports 1450 AM on the edge of your seat.
2) We’ll chat who’s all back in our Number To Know but with seven additions to the lineup from the Arizona Coyotes within the last week and only one of them playing in preseason action, the curiosity of tonight’s lines and defensive pairings is through the roof. Hypotheticals are fun but all will be solved in just a few hours and we’ll have our answers. For now, let’s look at the center position. Based off of history and previous playing experience the roster would suggest that the team has FIVE options that very well could be defined as a “#1 Center”. Michael Chaput and Lane Pederson were two driving forces down the middle for Tucson last year, both newcomers Andy Miele and Beau Bennett each played a game at the position last week and as did rookie Nate Schnarr, whom had over 100 points in his final major junior season. Who goes where?
3) While the story all throughout training camp and the preseason was that the team has a good problem in net, carrying four goaltenders all capable of starting in tonight’s first regular season game, it could be Antti Raanta in between the pipes for Tucson tonight. If healthy, what an advantage that could be. A man less than two years removed from being in the Vezina discussion working on his game-feel and getting repetitions for the club tonight alone would be appealing, however, on Opening Night? Intrigue. Furthermore, if he cannot go or should he not be ready for game action yet, which rookie netminder gets the nod behind him? The 20-year-old Ivan Prosvetov or Swedish sensation Erik Kallgren?
What’s The Word?
Roadrunners Forward Hudson Fasching on the mood of the team going into night one…
“We’re excited. Training Camp can start to feel long at points for sure. We’ve got a good team here and we’re really excited about the new additions we have. It should be a fun year.”
Roadrunners Forward Hudson Fasching on how the team desires to play tonight…
“The first night there’s always lots of X’s and O’s that you’re trying to get in your head but for the team as a whole, it’s all about working hard. We want to play with relentless pressure, have a relentless work ethic and it’s something that we’ve talked about.”
Roadrunners Forward Hudson Fasching on the feel of the new roster…
“It’s fun. We’ve got some older guys this year so it gives us a bit of a different mood around the team. There’s definitely more experience and I think we’ll be a little bit more calm. That makes it easier for us to just relax, make plays and play our game.”
Number to Know
15. Prior to the initial submission of the club’s Opening Night roster (which may leave one or two players that are currently injured off of it), 15 players have played a regular season game with a Roadrunners sweater on. 15! At this level, returning that many is almost unheard of. Furthermore, that doesn’t even count a few that have been assigned to Rapid City (ECHL). Familiarity is good!
We’re Doing It Live
Catch tonight’s active LIVE on AHLTV or join Roadrunners play-by-play voice Adrian Denny on Fox Sports 1450 AM Tucson as he calls the game from the Roadrunners’ flagship radio station, where coverage begins at 4:45 PM.