Game #3 – Tucson (1-1-0-0) at Ontario (2-0-1-0)
6 PM MST, Toyota Arena – Ontario, California
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Referees: Beaudry Halkidis (#48), Dan Kelly (#45)
Linesmen: Matt Jolliff (#58), Brent Tubbs (#88)
Following an opening weekend split in a pair of games against Texas and San Antonio, the Roadrunners now enter their first divisional game of the season taking on the Ontario Reign, AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
While both games played themselves out with vastly different outcomes, one of the common denominators for Tucson was a good start. Scoring the first goal in both games and then extending that lead to a pair by also scoring in the second, the amendment that will have to come following Sunday’s game is ensuring that the group plays knowing that it’s not enough.
Acknowledging post-game that he felt his team took their foot off the gas Sunday, forward Lane Pederson the Roadrunners now have one single game to get back on track and make adjustments before the team’s home opener Friday against a Rampage team of who their aware provides a very real scoring threat and ability to capitalize.
1) Two goals won the Roadrunners one game last weekend but as clearly proven two days later, it’s not going to be enough to win them every game. The roster could face reigning AHL Player of the Week Cal Petersen, who won both of his first two starts and turned aside 83 of 85 shots faced from San Jose and Bakersfield, including a shutout against the Barracuda. If there’s a silver lining or glimpse of hope, it’s that Ontario allowed over 40 shots in both games. Is it sustainable to expect Petersen to continue posting those numbers?
2) Hello, old friend. Entering the weekend former Roadrunners Mario Kempe held the league lead in scoring with four points in the club’s first weekend, inclusive of an overtime-winner against Bakersfield. Kempe played in 57 games over the past two seasons with Tucson, primarily spending the most of his time during 2018-19 with the parent Arizona Coyotes. The 31-year-old is a proven point producer at this level and Tucson will be tasked with limiting him tonight.
3) It’s early in the season but fresh legs are never a non-factor. The Reign had their hands full with the Colorado Eagles last night while the Roadrunners waited in the wings. Playing just one game this weekend allows Tucson to move all their chips to the middle tonight while Ontario will be using what they’ve got left following last night’s effort.
What’s The Word?
Roadrunners Forward Beau Bennett on his takeaways from the first week of the regular season…
“We’ve got a lot of work to do but we also have a tight group and you can tell everyone likes each other. It makes for a fun, easier you when you enjoy each other’s company. We’ll look to put it together on the ice now and stringing together some wins..”
Roadrunners Forward Beau Bennett and Southern California-born Beau Bennett on playing in Ontario tonight…
“I’ve never played in Ontario before, so it’ll be a new experience for me. Growing up here I came to this area for youth hockey and what not, but being raised here, you can’t beat it. It’s 75 and sunny all the time, my family and friends are here and I’m sure they’ll be here tomorrow.”
Roadrunners Forward Beau Bennett on the culture of the locker room and the message going into tonight…
“Winning is fun and we’re all competitive guys. We’re just trying to go out there and get it done.”
Number to Know
24. Following the assignment of goaltender Erik Kallgren and defenseman Ryker Killins to Rapid City this week, the Roadrunners roster has now slimmed down to just 24 players (15 Forwards, 7 Defenseman and 2 Goalies).
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 5:45 PM.