Game #69: Texas Stars (7) at Tucson Roadrunners (3)
SOG: TEX (28) – TUC (36)
PP: TEX (1/2) – TUC (0/1)
TEXAS SCORING: Will Butcher (6), Riley Tufte (17 SH), Mavrik Bourque (15 PP, 16, 17 EN), Ben Gleason (7), Curtis McKenzie (20)
TUCSON SCORING: Adam Cracknell (20, 21), Curtis Douglas (8)
ROADRUNNERS DROP SERIES OPENER AGAINST TEXAS IN RETURN TO TUCSON ARENA FRIDAY NIGHT
Tucson, Arizona – The Tucson Roadrunners hosted the first-place Texas Stars at the Tucson Arena Friday night for the first time since October 2021, falling by a final score of 7-3. The Roadrunners finished strong with a three-goal third period, as forwards Adam Cracknell (2g) and Mike Carcone (3a) each recorded multiple-point performances in the effort. Despite the loss, Tucson moved one point closer to clinching a Calder Cup Playoff berth on Friday as the San Jose Barracuda lost 4-3 at home in overtime to the Colorado Eagles. A win in Saturday’s series finale against Texas paired with a San Jose loss in any fashion would be enough to send Tucson to the postseason, with the Roadrunners and Barracuda still slated to meet for the final two games of the regular season April 14 and 15 in Tucson.
YA GOTTA SEE IT
Roadrunners forward Curtis Douglas lit the lamp with 9:27 gone by in Friday’s third period for the 23-year-old’s second-straight appearance with a goal. The score was his eighth tally of the season, and marked the second consecutive game for Tucson where their second goal of the contest was scored by Douglas. Assisting on Friday’s score were forwards Cam Hebig and Mike Carcone, as Hebig reached ten assists on the year after assisting on Douglas’ goal on Wednesday in Henderson. Carcone’s assist was his second of three-straight in the third period, as he factored into all three of Tucson’s goals on Friday.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
CARCONE AND CRACKNELL COMBINE – Roadrunners forwards Adam Cracknell and Mike Carcone were the driving force behind Tucson’s three-goal third period on Friday against the Texas Stars. Cracknell opened the scoring for the Roadrunners with 6:24 gone by in the final frame and added his second goal with 7:34 left to play in regulation, which represented his 20th and 21st tallies of the season. Carcone recorded assists on both Cracknell goals, as well as on Curtis Douglas’ third-period score to record his 11th three-point performance of the season in the span of 5:58. With the outing, Carcone remained atop the American Hockey League in total scoring with 83 points (31g 52a) across 62 outings with Tucson. #CarconeMVP.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
Roadrunners defenseman Ronald Knot dropped the gloves in the second period of Friday’s series opener against the Texas Stars for the 28-year-old’s first fight in North America. Knot took on Stars forward Scott Reedy with 7:23 still to go in the middle frame, becoming the 16th Roadrunners player to record a fight this season in the process. In his first season in Tucson, Knot has tallied four goals and 13 assists for 17 total points with a team-leading plus-11 across 61 games played. After posting a season-high six shots on goal the Roadrunners last outing on Wednesday in Henderson Knot set another season high on Friday with 17 total penalty minutes, which represents over a quarter of his 61 overall penalty minutes on the season.
THEY SAID IT
“I think we were a little disconnected on our forecheck to start. Once we started getting pucks back and working [Texas] down low and playing our style of hockey, that’s when we started generating our chances. We have to get a little more connected and get some more flow. Those are the positives that we want to bring out of the third period [Friday] and take into [Saturday].”Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell on Tucson finishing Friday’s series opener strong with a three-goal third period against Texas.
The Roadrunners and Stars were scoreless for the opening 17:03 of Friday’s series opener before Texas got on the board with a goal by defenseman Will Butcher, taking a 1-0 lead into the second period. The opening 20 minutes of action were played while skating five-on-five with no penalties, as Tucson narrowly outshot the stars seven to six to begin the contest. Tucson came out aggressive in the second period with each of the first five shots on goal, but a Texas shorthanded score extended their lead to 2-0 with 7:06 gone by in the frame. The next action came 5:31 later when Roadrunners defenseman Ronald Knot dropped the gloves for his first fight of the season, as he took on Stars forward Scott Reedy with 7:23 remaining in the period. Texas extended their advantage late in the middle frame with a pair of goals in the span of 42 seconds, beginning with a power-play goal by Mavrik Bourque on their first man-advantage of the night. Ben Gleason’s five-on-five tally with 2:32 left in the period sent the Roadrunners to the third period trailing by a count of 4-0 while outshooting the Stars 19 to 15. Texas opened the final frame with an early goal scored 1:28 out of the intermission by forward Curtis McKenzie for his 20th tally of the year, making it a 5-0 game. Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell put Tucson on the board at 5-1 less than five minutes later with his 20th goal of the season, as Mike Carcone picked up his team-leading 50th assist and defenseman Cam Crotty reached 10 assists for the first time in his AHL career. Texas answered back with Mavrik Bourque’s second goal of the game to push their lead to 6-1, but Tucson responded even faster with a goal 1:10 later by Curtis Douglas to keep it a four-goal deficit at 6-2. The goal was Douglas’ second in as many games for his eighth tally of the season, as Cam Hebig joined Crotty as the second Roadrunner to record his tenth assist of the year in Friday’s third period. Adam Cracknell made it a 6-3 contest as found the back of the net for the second time on the night with 7:34 still to play in regulation, giving the Tucson Captain his third two-goal game of the season. Mike Carcone tallied his third-straight assist on the score to extend his AHL scoring lead to 83 points (31g 52a), while Josh Doan added his second assist in his last two games for the first scoring streak of his professional career. Still trailing 6-3, the Roadrunners pulled goaltender David Tendeck with 3:27 left on the clock for a six-on-five attack. Tucson kept the Stars away from the empty net for the next 3:08 before Mavrik Bourque finished off the hat trick to give Texas a 7-3 victory in the series opener. The Roadrunners and Stars will meet Saturday night at the Tucson Arena to close out the four-game season series.
(Photo Credits: Kate Dibildox/Chris Hook)