Game #44: Tucson Roadrunners vs Iowa Wild
SOG: TUC (27) – IA (31)
PP: TUC (0/6) – IA (0/7)
IOWA SCORING: Sammy Walker (7), Ryan O’Rourke (3)
TUCSON SCORING: Josh Doan (18)
If you are an Arizona hockey fan in any way, shape, or form it is time to familiarize yourself with the brick wall down here in Tucson. Most people call him Matthew Villalta. Matthew Villalta leads the AHL in wins and in saves and neither should surprise any of you. Villalta, the 2024 AHL All-Star, made 29 saves on Friday night’s contest including this massive glove save in the second period. Villalta is in his fifth season in the AHL, and his first with the Roadrunners.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
MIKE DROP – Doan’t forget about the Tucson Roadrunners leading point scorer Josh Doan and the success he is having early in his professional career. The rookie out of Arizona State (we saw that eye-roll Tucson natives) has 18 goals so far this season. That number is tied for second among rookies in the AHL this year. Doan is just four goals off from where forward Mike Carcone was on this date last year for the Roadrunners. Carcone ended the 2022-2023 season with 31 goals and 85 points and currently has 15 goals this season in the NHL for the Arizona Coyotes. That isn’t bad company to be mentioned with if your name is Josh and you play hockey for the Tucson Roadrunners *mic drop*.
LOOK AT THIS
AHL All-Star and Tucson Roadrunners leading point scorer Josh Doan leads the handshake line in Iowa after scoring a goal late in the third period to break up the Iowa shutout and bring Tucson within one. Tucson would fall in the contest, but get some life from their young prospect whose future is, to put it lightly, bright (pun intended). Doan leads the AHL in game-winning goals and leads the Roadrunners with 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists) in 44 games played this season.
THEY SAID IT
“We just didn’t have our gameplan from the start, have to give them (Iowa) credit. We have to do a better job of getting tight shots and burying shots when we get chances. Special teams are so important in this league and our penalty kill kept us in it”Forward Austin Poganski after Tucson 2-1 loss on Friday night.
The first period was back and forth between the two sides with two minors called on each team, and neither team finding the back of the net. It was a strong showing from Tucson goalie Matthew Villalta who saved all 11 shots he faced in the period, and 29 of 31 on the evening.
The second and third periods became a battle of the special teams. In the contest Iowa had seven power-play opportunities and Tucson had six, but neither side scored on special teams. Iowa would break the 0-0 pitcher’s duel in the second with a goal at the 7:15 mark. Iowa would keep the 1-0 lead for the remainder of the second and almost four minutes in the third before adding a second goal. With a two-goal lead, the Wild would hold strong until the unstoppable force of Josh Doan would introduce himself to the fine midwesterners in attendance. Josh Doan would cut the lead in half with just under two—minutes remaining in the game and netminder Matthew Villalta being on the Tucson bench for an extra-attacker. Doan was assisted by Victor Soderstrom and John Leonard. Doan added to his team leading points total with his 18th goal of the year.
Despite the late goal, Tucson would be unable to answer with a second and Iowa would hold off the Roadrunners for a 2-1 win.