Game #36: Tucson Roadrunners vs Iowa Wild
SOG: TUC (36) –IA (21)
PP: TUC (1/3) – IA (0/3)
IOWA SCORING: Joel Teasdale (4)
Austin Poganski could be called Picasso the way he painted the top corner of the goal in Wednesday night’s contest with the Iowa Wild. Poganski’s Randy Johnson fastball-esque snipe was his first of two goals in the game. Poganski also added an assist and now totals nine points in his last 12 games.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
THERE’S SOME QUOTE FROM TALLADEGA NIGHT’S THAT SHOULD GO HERE – Oh yeah, if you’re not first, you’re last. It’s a good thing the Tucson Roadrunners picked up their 48th point and 23rd win on Wednesday to move into first place in the Pacific Division. With a 72-game season and Wednesday night being game 36; the Tucson Roadrunners are at the exact halfway mark. Through the first half, the Roadrunners are tied for the second best record and second most wins in the American Hockey League. Netminder Matthew Villalta leads the AHL with 18 wins and is top-10 in save percentage at .916. There may not be a Talladega quote for this, but here’s to the Roadrunners finishing the season better than the first place halfway through start they’ve had.
LOOK AT THIS
Tucson Roadrunners players Montana Onyebuchi, Max Szuber, and Patrik Koch celebrate after a third period goal that gave Tucson a 4-0 lead. Montana Onyebuchi scored the goal which was his first of the year. This photo is also a microcosm of Roadrunners fans all around as tonight’s win jolted the Roadrunners into first place in the Pacific Division at the halfway mark of the season.
THEY SAID IT
We came in with the right energy and mindset for both games this week. We had been going back and forth, win one, lose one, so it feels good to finish the sweep. We’re going to take it game by game and keep this rolling.Defenseman Montana Onyebuchi following Tucson’s 4-1 win on Wednesday night.
The puck dropped on Wednesday night at the Tucson Arena and the first place Roadrunners came out with their hair on fire outshooting the Iowa Wild 36-21 in the contest and 12-4 in the opening frame as well as outscoring the Wild 7-2 in the two-game midweek series sweep. For Tucson it was defensemen Lleyton Moore getting the scoring started halfway through the first period. Moore was assisted by Cam Hebig and Austin Poganski on the play. With just over a minute left in the period, Austin Poganski would rip a snipe into the top corner of the net looking like a Randy Johnson fastball. Poganski picked up his second point of the night, as well as Cam Hebig who assisted Poganski and gave Tucson the 2-0 lead.
In the second, it would be an Iowa Wild holding the stick minor that would send Tucson onto the power-play. The good guys would not disappoint as Austin Poganski would score his second goal of the night and pick up his third point. Milos Keleman and Aku Raty picked up assists on the play. Poganski, with three points Wednesday night, now has nine points in his last 12 games. Poganski is also third on the Roadrunners in power-play points with six (three goals and three assists) on the year. Tucson would hold the Wild to just five shots in the second period totaling nine through 40 minutes of play. Goalie Matthew Villalta was nails through the first two with a stellar job by the Roadrunner defensemen and defensive effort to makes Villalta’s life a little bit easier.
With a three-goal lead the Tucson Roadrunners were not finished. It took just 2:09 in the third period to score another goal and extend the lead to four. This time it was defensemen Montana Onyebuchi lighting the lamp for the first time this season. Onyebuchi was all smiles as the Roadrunners eyed the series sweep. Travis Barron and Patrik Koch picked up assisted on the Onyebuchi rip. Iowa would add a goal late breaking up the Matthew Villalta shutout effort, but the Roadrunners would hold on winning 4-1. The win would move Tucson into the first spot in the Pacific Division with 48 points in 36 games played, the halfway mark of the AHL season.
Tucson will host the Henderson Silver Knights on Friday and Saturday from the Tucson Arena with Saturday night being Beach Night.