SOG: ONT (31) – TUC (19)
PP: ONT (1/9) – TUC (0/4)
ONTARIO SCORING: Tobias Bjornfot (5 PP), Tyler Madden (17), Aidan Dudas (11 SH), Martin Chromiak (15)
ROADRUNNERS FALL TO ONTARIO REIGN IN FINAL MEETING OF THE SEASON TO SPLIT SERIES FROM TUCSON
Tucson, Arizona – The Tucson Roadrunners and Ontario Reign met Wednesday night for the eighth and final meeting of the season, as the Roadrunners were defeated 4-0 by the Reign for a series split from the Tucson Arena. The contest featured a combined 13 trips to the man-advantage, as the Reign broke the scoreless tie early in the second period with a power-play goal. Wednesday’s matchup also closed out a four-game home stand for the Roadrunners, who will head out on the road for the two-week, six-game trip beginning on Saturday night against the Colorado Eagles.
YA GOTTA SEE IT
Forward Curtis Douglas went up against Ontario Reign forward Samuel Helenius with 3:56 gone by in the second period for the only fight of Wednesday’s contest between Tucson and Ontario. The bout was Douglas’ fifth time dropping the gloves since joining the Roadrunners in November, as the 23-year-old is tied with Boko Imama and Mike Carcone for second on the team in fights behind forward Travis Barron.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
QUICK CHANGES – Despite meeting with Ontario just 24 hours after a 4-1 win on Tuesday, Wednesday’s Roadrunners lineup was adjusted on the fly with the NHL call-ups of forwards Milos Kelemen and Boko Imama to the Arizona Coyotes. Imama and Kelemen each recorded assists in Tucson’s series-opening win, as the Roadrunners skated with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for Wednesday’s rematch. With both Imama and Kelemen in the lineup for Arizona’s contest with the Edmonton Oilers, Forward Reece Vitelli and defenseman Noah Laaouan took the ice for the Roadrunners in the series finale against the Reign. Forward Tyson Empey was also recalled from the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators and took warm-ups with Tucson prior to the opening face-off.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
Wednesday’s matchup from the Tucson Arena represented the eighth and final meeting of the season between the Roadrunners and the Ontario Reign. Tucson earned standings points in five of the eight contests against the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings this year, including three of the four on the Roadrunners home ice. Tucson also won three of the four series openers with the Reign on the season and added a standings point with an overtime loss in the series opener on December 9. All three of the Roadrunners victories over the Reign were won by at least two goals, as each featured a late empty-net tally by Tucson. The Roadrunners have wrapped up half of the season sets against their 12 different opponents on the year, with six teams remaining on their regular season schedule.
THEY SAID IT
“It was an odd game with a lot of special teams that made it tough to get going. In games like that, it’s hard to get everyone rolling and in the groove, and I think that’s when we’re the strongest. We have to regroup and get ready for Colorado [on Saturday].”Roadrunners Forward Cameron Hebig on the flow of Wednesday’s series finale against the Ontario Reign, a game that featured a combined 58 penalty minutes and 13 trips to the power-play.
Like Tuesday’s first period, the opening 20 minutes between the Roadrunners and Reign on Wednesday was without a goal. Unlike the series opener, Wednesday’s first period featured a combined 12 penalty minutes and six trips to the power-play, which were both more than the full 60 minutes on Tuesday. The Roadrunners penalty-kill and goaltender Tyler Parks were up to the task, stopping all 10 shots faced in the frame while going a perfect four-for-four against Ontario’s power-play unit that ranks first in the AHL’s Pacific Division. The Reign broke through early in the second period with a power-play goal on their fifth opportunity of the contest, scored by defenseman Tobias Bjornfot for his second-straight goal for Ontario to begin the two-game set from Tucson. With 3:53 gone by in the middle 20 minutes, the score came four seconds earlier than Josh Doan’s goal to open the scoring on Tuesday at 3:57 into the frame. Roadrunners forward Curtis Douglas dropped the gloves with Ontario’s Samuel Helenius on the face-off immediately following the goal, as he took down Helenius for his fifth fight since joining Tucson in November. The Reign added a five-on-five goal just under ten minutes later with 6:11 remaining in the period for their first multi-goal advantage of the series at 2-0. Ontario then ended the second period scoring with their third-straight goal, a shorthanded tally with 4:47 still to play in the frame, to send Tucson to the third period down 3-0. The Roadrunners went shorthanded an additional three times during the final 20 minutes, and a four-on-four goal by the Reign with 6:13 left in regulation secured a 4-0 win for Ontario and the third-straight series split between the two teams to close out the eight-game season set.
(Photo Credits: Kate Dibildox)