7:00 p.m. MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
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Referees: Beau Halkidis (48) Mike Sullivan (89)
Linespersons: Jake Herzog (48) Gabe Lomen (76)
The Tucson Roadrunners open a four-game home stand Friday night with the first of two matchups against the Texas Stars. Tucson welcomes the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars into town with a chance to clinch a Calder Cup Playoff Berth as soon as Friday night with a win and a San Jose Barracuda loss in regulation. The Roadrunners enter the weekend set with standings points in seven of their last nine contests after going to a shootout with Henderson on Wednesday, while Texas has been off since Saturday, April 1 following a 7-2 win over the San Jose Barracuda. Friday’s series opener is also Tucson is Everything Night, with $3 hot dogs and $3 soft drinks available for purchase all game long at the Tucson Arena.
1) Tucson is back on home ice after their final road trip of the season that saw the Roadrunners earn standings in five of the six games with an overall record of 3-1-1-1. Four players finished the trip at a point per-game average or better for Tucson: Mike Carcone (ten points in six games), Jan Jenik (nine points in five games), Adam Cracknell (seven points in six games) and Colin Theisen (six points in six games). In addition, ten different Roadrunners skaters have scored a goal and 18 players have recorded a point since a 7-1 victory over Colorado on Saturday, March 25 to start the six-game stretch.
2) The Roadrunners and Stars face-off Friday night for the first time since December 31, 2022, and for the first time at the Tucson Arena since a two-game set that took place on October 23 and 24 of 2021. In the series opener on October 23, 2021, the Roadrunners defeated Texas by a final score of 4-0, highlighted by a Ben McCartney hat trick and a 19-save shutout by current Arizona Coyotes backstop Ivan Prosvetov. In their first matchup of the 2022-2023 season on December 30, 2022, forwards Colin Theisen and Reece Vitelli each netted their first goals of the season in the span of 1:09 to open the third period of play. The goal by Vitelli was the first of his American Hockey League career, an unassisted tally with just 1:34 gone by in the final frame from the H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas.
3) One player absent from the first two matchups of the season between Tucson and Texas was Roadrunners forward and the AHL’s leading scorer Mike Carcone. Carcone recorded a point in three of Tucson’s four meetings with Texas last season with three assists, and he enters Friday’s series opener with 12 total points (5g 7a) in his last eight appearances dating back to a two-point performance (1g 1a) on March 22 at home against the Ontario Reign. The 26-year-old added an assist on Wednesday in Henderson, becoming the first player in the AHL to reach 80 points on the season with 31 goals and 49 assists. His 49th assist on Ryan McGregor’s first period goal set a new Roadrunners team record for assists in a season, after Carcone had already set new franchise marks for goals, total points, power-play goals (14), and shots on goal (246). In his first year with Tucson, Carcone notched three points (2g 1a) over the Roadrunners final two outings against the Stars on May 8 and 9 of 2021. #CarconeMVP.
What’s The Word?
“I think we did a decent job on the trip, now we get to come home and play the last four games [in Tucson]. We control our own destiny, and that’s where we want to be, and we’ll keep pushing.”Roadrunners Forward Ryan McGregor on Tucson returning home for the final four games of the regular season with an opportunity to punch their ticket to the playoffs as soon as Saturday night.
Number to Know
4 – Four of Tucson’s last five contests have gone past regulation, marking the most games to require overtime or a shootout in a five-game stretch since the 2016-2017 season. In their first year in Southern Arizona, the Roadrunners had six games go beyond regulation in the span of seven outings in December of 2016 with four overtime results and a pair of shootout wins for an overall record of 5-0-1-0. In all, Tucson has played bonus hockey 13 times this year, their most in a single season since the 2018-2019 campaign saw 15 games go past regulation.
We’re Doing It Live
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on AHLtv, as well as on the radio on FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app. Coverage begins at 6:45 with Roadrunners Warm-Up hosted by Jimmy Peebles, before “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny has all the action from the Tucson Arena.