Game #48 – Tucson Roadrunners at Abbotsford Canucks
8:00 p.m. MST, Abbotsford Centre, Abbotsford, BC
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Referees: Morgan MacPhee (43) Riley Brace (90)
Linespersons: Angus Middleton (76) Nathan Van Oosten (12)
The Tucson Roadrunners take on the Abbotsford Canucks Saturday night for the fourth and final matchup of the season. The Roadrunners will seek to end Abbotsford’s current four-game winning streak that began after Tucson swept the Canucks at home with wins on January 28 and 29. Saturday’s rematch with the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks will also conclude the first of two season series for the Roadrunners over their next three outings, with Wednesday, February 15 representing Tucson’s last contest against the Coachella Valley Firebirds in their inaugural season.
1) Through seven total meetings between Tucson and Abbotsford since the Canucks were added to the American Hockey League prior to the 2021-2022 season, the home team has won all seven matchups with six of the seven coming by at least three goals. The Roadrunners will look to defeat that trend and the Canucks on Saturday at the Abbotsford Centre, with a win giving them three of four possible wins on the season series this year. Both contests at the Tucson Arena January 28 and 29 saw the Roadrunners defeat the Canucks by multiple goals to continue the streak that began with back-to-back Roadrunners wins on their home ice last season, when Tucson and Abbotsford met for the first time on November 26, 2021. The four-game slate between Tucson and Abbotsford is the first season series to wrap up for the Roadrunners in 2022-2023, with their final 25 games on the regular season schedule set to feature 12 different opponents.
2) Friday’s series opener from the Abbotsford Centre featured a combined 100 penalty minutes handed out to the Roadrunners and Canucks. Tucson was assessed 59 of the 100 total minutes which included three fights by three different Roadrunners forwards: Boko Imama late in the second period, followed by Travis Barron and Nathan Smith in the final 3:20 of the third period. Despite Abbotsford netting a power-play goal late in the second period of the contest, Tucson’s penalty-kill has gone a combined 13-for-14 through three meetings with the Canucks on the year. By comparison, the Roadrunners have scored two power-play goals against Abbotsford with just eight total trips to the man-advantage.
3) Both the first and third periods of Friday’s matchup between Tucson and Abbotsford were without any goals, representing the second and third scoreless frames of the four-game season series. The Roadrunners and Canucks were previously kept off the scoreboard in the second period on Saturday, January 28 from the Tucson Arena, as the Roadrunners entered and exited the middle frame with a 3-2 advantage before scoring another three goals in the final 20 minutes for an eventual 6-3 win. The scoreless opening frame on Friday marked the second time in Tucson’s last three games where they were knotted at 0-0 with their opponent at the first intermission. Ivan Prosvetov was in net for Tucson in both outings and has allowed just three goals over his last six first periods with 62 total saves.
“We’re a good team five-on-five. When we can get on the forecheck, that’s a strength of our team. Our forwards are so good at chasing guys down and creating havoc and wearing guys down. Hockey is such a game of getting into a flow of a game and it’s hard to play through disruptions, but we have to be better at it.”Roadrunners defenseman Cam Crotty on Tucson’s success when playing at even-strength against teams this season. The Roadrunners outscored the Canucks nine to five while skating five-on-five in their first two meetings of the season at the end of January.
Number to Know
5 – The number of fights through three games between the Roadrunners and Canucks this season, after Friday’s series opener saw three bouts over the final 20:17 of regulation. Tucson forward Boko Imama and Abbotsford’s Vincent Arseneau were the first to drop the gloves in the contest with just 17 seconds still to play in the middle frame for Imama’s fourth fight of the season against the fourth different team. Forwards Travis Barron and Nathan Smith each exchanged blows with Canucks skaters late in the third period for Barron’s team-leading seventh fight and Smith’s first career fight since making his professional debut last season for the Arizona Coyotes. Forwards Adam Cracknell and Milos Kelemen were the first to drop the gloves for Tucson in the season series against Abbotsford, with the pair each doing so in their first matchup of the year on January 28 in Tucson.
We’re Doing It Live
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on AHLtv, as well as on the radio at FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app. Coverage begins at 7:45 p.m. with Roadrunners Warm-Up hosted by Jimmy Peebles, before Adrian Denny has all the action from the Abbotsford Centre.