Game #28: Tucson Roadrunners vs. Coachella Valley Firebirds

Game #28: Tucson Roadrunners (17-8-1-1) vs. Coachella Valley Firebirds (15-9-2-0)

Time: Friday, December 29, 7:00 p.m. MST, Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona



Tucson Roadrunners Current Roster: CLICK HERE

Referees: #51 Bobby Jo Love, #71 Brody Sutter

Linespersons: #62 Mitch Hunt, #57 Justin Johnson

The Tucson Roadrunners return to the TCC after a successful three-game road trip where they went 3-0 and now sit just two points out of first place in the Pacific Division with a record of 17-8-1-1. The Coachella Valley Firebirds matched up against the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday defeating them 3-1 and are sixth in the Pacific Division at 15-9-2-0. The Roadrunners are 1-2-0-1 against the Firebirds in four games played and Friday will mark their fifth matchup already this season; the most games each team has played against the same opponent so far.

Three things:

  1. Tucson’s penalty-kill is 19-21 (90.4%) in its last six home games dating back to November 17 and November 18 against this same Coachella Valley Firebirds team. In four games against their desert counterpart this season, the Roadrunners have killed off 13 out of 14 penalties and have not allowed a power-play goal to Coachella Valley since their first game back on October 21 where the Firebirds won 4-0 at the TCC.
  2. Since both returning from injuries, Ben McCartney and Justin Kirkland have been productive as if they never missed any ice time. McCartney, who has been back for four games now, has points in three and is currently riding a three-game point streak where he has a goal and two assists. As for Kirkland, he was called up to the Arizona Coyotes Friday but has two points in two games since returning from his injury, all coming on a two-assist effort against the San Jose Barracuda on December 20. He was returned to the Roadrunners ahead of this weekend.
  3. Though Victor Soderstrom and Max Szuber continue to be Tucson’s top scoring defensemen, other blue liners in: Montana Onyebuchi, Patrick Koch, Cameron Crotty, Peter DiLiberatore and newly acquired Lleyton Moore have all stepped up offensively in their last five games. Onyebuchi has three points (three assists), Koch and Crotty each have two points (2 assists), DiLiberatore had three points (one goal, two assists) before his day-to-day injury and Moore scored his first AHL goal in his league debut on December 20; helping Tucson get wins in all three games of their recent road trip.

What did they say?

“Big game coming up; obviously a good road trip but for us it’s just keep where we left off, don’t take our foot off the gas because we’re in a good spot.

Tucson forward Dylan Guenther on the team’s momentum after the holiday break.

Number to Know:

4 – The Roadrunners have scored four or more goals in seven of their nine games in December and are 10-1-0 when scoring four or more goals on the season. In three of those games, Tucson has scored four goals in a single period all coming in this same month of December at the TCC.

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Tonight’s game will be broadcasted live on the radio on FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app. Coverage will begin at 6:45 p.m. MST with Roadrunners Warm-up hosted by Jonathon Schaffer, before the “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny has all the action from the TCC. The game will also be televised on AHLtv.