Game #52: Tucson Roadrunners (5) vs Henderson Silver Knights (2)

Roadrunners Recap: 3/2/2024

Game #52: Tucson Roadrunners vs Henderson Silver Knights

SOG: TUC (29) – HSK (23)

PP: TUC (1/2) – HSK (0/3)

HENDERSON SCORING: Daniel D’Amato (6), Brandon Hickey (3)

TUCSON SCORING: Austin Poganski (11), Jan Jenik (11, 12), Nathan Smith (7), Milos Kelemen (11)


HENDERSON, NV – What happens in Vegas (Henderson) is the Tucson Roadrunners took 3 of 4 points on the weekend and defeated the Henderson Silver Knights 5-2 to improve to 30-19-2-1 on the year from the Dollar Loan Center on Saturday night.

There is really only one thing that is more beautiful than a tic-toe-toe snipe to score a goal in hockey. That thing is a tic-tac-toe snipe for a goal in hockey off of the stick of Roadrunners Forward Austin Poganski. Poganski scored his 11th of the year in his first season with the Roadrunners.


HAVIN’ A RECORD YEAR – If your first name is Matthew and last name is Villalta you are having yourself one heck of a year. Putting the first NHL call-up, NHL debut, first NHL start, and AHL All-Star appearance aside, the Roadrunners netminder has broken the single-season win total record for goalies in Tucson Roadrunners franchise history. Saturday marked Matthew Villalta’s 23rd win of the 2023-2024 season tops the previous Roadrunners record of 22 wins held by Hunter Miska in 2017-2018. Records were meant to be broken and Matthew Villalta is meant to stop pucks from going into the net. Villalta’s 23rd win ranks him second in the AHL for goalie wins.


(Photo Credits: Zak Krill, Henderson Silver Knights)

A picture tells a thousand words is what some would say. This is not one of those pictures, this one tells five. Points scored for these two. Jan Jenik, 24, scored two-goals for the Roadrunners and Aku Raty, 35, had three assists. Raty has now scored on six of Tucson’s last eight goals.


“To come in here and get the two-points is exactly what we came here to do. Keep it simple, get pucks to the net and good things will happen. Tonight shows our resiliency and how connected we are. We have no doubts.”

Defenseman Peter DiLiberatore following Tucson’s 5-2 victory on Saturday night. 


In an unfortunate beginning to the Tucson Roadrunners Saturday night, it was the Henderson Silver Knights who would come out and score two early goals in the first 3:39 of the game to take the lead. After those first three plus minutes, Tucson would control the puck and dominate the period. It wouldn’t take long, about four minutes, after Henderson’s second goal for Forward Austin Poganski to score his 11th goal of the season and bring the Roadrunners within one. Poganski scored a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal receiving the pass from Justin Kirkland who picked up his 18th assist of the year. Captain Steven Kampfer also picked up an assist on the play.

Tucson outshot Henderson 12-5 in the first period and rode the momentum from Poganski’s goal right into the middle frame. In that frame, it would take Jan Jenik just 1:52 before he would light the lamp and tie the game 2-2. Colin Theisen and Josh Doan picked up assists (as Arizona State University fans banged on their chest reading this) on the Jenik goal. The game would remain tied for just about 14 minutes of play before the Roadrunners would answer again. This time it would be Nathan Smith doing the scoring and Peter DiLiberatore and Aku Raty receiving assists on the play. With their first lead of the day Tucson would add another goal on the same shift, just 17 seconds later, this time from Milos Kelemen. Smith and Raty would get assists giving them both two-point nights.

In the final frame, Tucson would pick up an early power-play opportunity following a Henderson high-sticking minor. The power-play would be successful for the visiting Roadrunners as Jan Jenik would bury the shot and pick up his second goal of the night. Aku Raty would tally his third assist of the night and sixth point on the three-game road trip.

Tucson netminder Matthew Villalta was fantastic on his record setting night, making 21 saves, 18 of which were in the final two frames. Villalta picked up his 23rd win this season; making him the Tucson Roadrunners franchise leader for single season goalie wins.

Tucson took 3 of 4 points in the series with Henderson and will return home on Tuesday and Wednesday March 5th-6th against Calgary.