Game #43: Tucson Roadrunners vs. Coachella Valley Firebirds

Game #43: Tucson Roadrunners (27-13-1-1) vs. Coachella Valley Firebirds (26-12-4-1)

Time, Saturday February 3, 7:00 p.m. MST, Acrisure Arena, Palm Desert, California



Tucson Roadrunners Current Roster: CLICK HERE

Referees: #44 Justin Kea, #27 Jackson Kozari

Linespersons: #91 Joe Mahon, #96 Michael McBain

The Roadrunners look to make a good trip into a great trip with a three-for-three road trip that closes out against the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a battle for first place in the Pacific Division before the All-Star Break. Tucson has won six of their last eight games and currently sits in second place at 56 points behind Coachella Valley’s 57 points with Tucson holding a game in hand. The Roadrunners 27-13-1-1 record makes for the best winning percentage in the division at .667 compared to Coachella’s .663. No matter regulation or overtime; the winner of this matchup takes sole possession of first place in the division for the All-Star Break.

Three things:

  1. Goaltender Dylan Wells stole Tucson’s 2-1 win over San Diego on Friday night with a 35 save effort to give AHL All-Star Matt Villalta a rest day in preparation for Coachella Valley. However, both Wells and Villalta have been effective in Tucson’s recent away stretch. In the last five road games, Tucson’s netminders of Villalta and Wells have a combined 4-1-0-0 record with a 1.43 goals against and .955 save percentage with two shutouts.
  2. Tucson has seen the highest shot volumes from no other opponent than the Coachella Valley Firebirds. In their last game in Acrisure Arena on November 12, the Roadrunners put up their highest shot total this season at 49 while allowing the most shots in the same game at 48 against the Firebirds. Goalie Matthew Villalta had his most saves in a game this season in the matchup with 45. In addition, at the very next game at the TCC, the Roadrunners allowed 45 shots to Coachella Valley and Villalta made 42 saves. In total the Roadrunners and Firebirds have combined for 351 shots in five games played. That’s an average of just over 70 shots per-game with Coachella Valley leading the shot total 189-162. Villalta is 2-2-0-1 with a 2.27 goals-against-average and .938 save percentage versus the Firebirds; stopping 170 of 181 shot against them.
  3. Tucson’s first goal of the game was crucial once again in Friday’s 2-1 win. The Roadrunners are now 21-1-0-1 when scoring first, 16-1-0-1 when leading after one, 13-4-0-0 when tied after one, 19-0-0-1 when leading after two and 6-2-0-0 when tied after two. Tucson is also 9-5-1-0 in the second game of a back-to-back and 6-2-0-0 when playing single game matchups against opponents.

What’s the word?

Coachella’s a good team, we have to maintain our position; everyone wants to beat us and we always have to make sure that we come out of every game as hard as possible and stick to the gameplan.

Roadrunners Defenseman Lleyton Moore on the crucial game against Coachella Valley Saturday.

Number to Know:

14 – With Curtis Douglas’ game-winning goal on Friday, he becomes the 14th Roadrunner to get a game-winning goal this season. Even with Josh Doan’s eight game-winning goals that leads the AHL, only two other teams have 14 different players with a game-winning goal, the Coachella Valley Firebirds and Cleveland Monsters. The Hershey Bears have one more at 15 but the Milwaukee Admirals and Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins are tied for the most at 16.

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On The Headset:

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 Acrisure Arena. The game will also be televised on AHLtv.