Game #72: San Jose Barracuda (4) at Tucson Roadrunners (2)

SOG: SJ (36) – TUC (24)

PP: SJ (0/4) – TUC (0/6)

SAN JOSE SCORING: Danil Gushchin (22), Kyle Criscuolo (17), Nick Cicek (1), C.J. Suess (10 EN)

TUCSON SCORING: Michael Kesselring (15), Michael Lombardi (1)


Tucson, Arizona – The Tucson Roadrunners closed out the regular season Saturday night in front of a season-high crowd of 5,923, falling to the San Jose Barracuda by a score of 4-2. With their spot already secured in the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Roadrunners were without regular skaters such as: J.S. Dea, Adam Cracknell, Boko Imama, Jan Jenik, and Steven Kampfer. Defenseman Michael Kesselring and Michael Lombardi each lit the lamp for Tucson, as the Roadrunners will head to Palm Desert to take on the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the First Round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs beginning on Wednesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. MST.


Forward Michael Lombardi made his professional debut with the Tucson Roadrunners on Saturday exactly a week after winning the NCAA Championship with Quinnipiac University on April 8. Lombardi’s goal with 4:28 gone by in the third period tied the game at 2-2, while forward Micah Miller registered his first professional point after making his debut with Tucson in the series opener on Friday.  


MIKE MAKES IT OFFICIAL – Tucson Roadrunners forward Mike Carcone captured the AHL’s scoring title on Saturday, finishing the year with 31 goals and 54 assists for 85 total points in 65 games played. Carcone was the only player in the AHL to finish the regular season slate in the top five for both goals (5th) and assists (3rd) while adding three shots on goal Saturday for a league-leading 273, the most in a single season since the 2012-2013 campaign. Carcone missed the final 33:29 of Saturday’s series finale after receiving a ten-minute game misconduct in the second period. #CarconeMVP.


Saturday’s regular season finale between the Roadrunners and San Jose Barracuda was Fan Appreciation Night at the Tucson Arena presented by the Arizona Daily Star. All fans in attendance received a free Player Poster courtesy of AMR, as a season-high 5,923 fans filled the seats for a series finale between the Roadrunners and Barracuda that was within a goal for all but four seconds of regulation. Immediately after the game, the Roadrunners players saluted the crowd and threw t-shirts to the fans as a final send-off before the start of the Calder Cup Playoffs on the road on Wednesday.


“It was pretty special. There’s been a lot going on for me over the last week, it’s been a whirlwind. The guys have been great, they’ve been really supportive and have helped me out. It’s a dream to play pro hockey, and to finally be here is pretty surreal.”

Roadrunners Forward Michael Lombardi on scoring a goal in his professional debut Saturday night against the San Jose Barracuda. Lombardi was signed to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) by Tucson on Thursday out of Quinnipiac University, after he and the Bobcats won the NCAA Championship on Saturday with a 3-2 overtime victory against Minnesota.


After a combined three goals in the first period on Friday, the opening 20 minutes of Saturday’s series finale between the Roadrunners and Barracuda went without a score. Tyler Parks was in net for Tucson for the second-straight night and began by stopping all nine shots faced in the opening frame. San Jose broke the scoreless tie in the first minute of the second period, as forward Danil Gushchin netted his third goal of the weekend to give the Barracuda a 1-0 lead 57 seconds into the frame. Tucson answered back with 6:13 gone by in the contest when Milos Kelemen sent a pass to Michael Kesselring who buried the puck for his 15th goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1. The assist extended Kelemen’s active AHL point streak to three games in his first outing with the Roadrunners since a win against the Ontario Reign on March 21. After lighting the lamp in the first minute of the second period, San Jose was able to retake the lead at 2-1 in the final 57 seconds of the frame to send Tucson to the third period down by a goal. The Roadrunners went to work quickly in the final frame, evening the score at 2-2 4:28 into the period on the first professional points for forwards Michael Lombardi and Micah Miller. Miller sent a pass to Lombardi who tucked it in for his first professional goal in his Roadrunners debut, after winning the NCAA Championship with Quinnipiac University exactly a week prior. Miller’s assist was also his first professional point in his second outing for Tucson after making his debut in Friday’s series opener out of St. Cloud State University. Still knotted at 2-2, the Roadrunners and Barracuda battled until the final minute of regulation in search of the go-ahead goal, before San Jose retook the lead at 3-2 with 40 seconds left in the third period. Looking to overcome a third-straight one-goal deficit, Tucson pulled goaltender Tyler Parks for a six-on-five attack until the Barracuda scored on the empty net to secure a 4-2 victory in the regular season finale for both teams.

(Photo Credits: Kate Dibildox/Chris Hook)