First Round, Game Three – Tucson Roadrunners at Coachella Valley Firebirds
Series Tied 1-1
3:00 p.m. MST, Acrisure Arena, Palm Desert, California
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Referees: Brandon Schrader (46) Morgan MacPhee (43)
Linespersons: Joseph Mahon (91) Justin Johnson (57)
First Round Schedule:
Game One: Wednesday, April 19 – Firebirds won 5-1
Game Two: Friday, April 21 – Roadrunners won 4-3
Game Three: Sunday, April 23, 3:00 p.m. MST
The Tucson Roadrunners will take on the Coachella Friday Firebirds in a winner-take-all Game Three Sunday afternoon at the Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California. The best-of-three series between Tucson and the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken is even at 1-1, with Sunday’s winner advancing to the Pacific Division Semifinals. The Roadrunners are one of just two teams in the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs to force a decisive Game Three after falling in Game One, joining the Charlotte Checkers who won Games Two and Three over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to advance to the Second Round.
1) The Roadrunners evened the series at one game apiece with a 4-3 victory in Game Two against the Firebirds on Friday. Tucson jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 15:07 while outshooting Coachella Valley 17 to 10 in the first period overall. The Roadrunners led for the final 53:06 of regulation, adding an early second-period score by Mike Carcone and came away with the one-goal victory. The bounce-back win after dropping Game One on Wednesday continued a trend for Tucson while on the road, as they have not lost back-to-back away games in regulation since the first half of February and are 3-0-1-0 over their last four games following a multi-goal loss. In addition, the Roadrunners finished the regular season with a 4-1-1-0 record following a one-goal win with a 6-3-1-0 record overall on the year.
2) Tucson forwards Mike Carcone and Jan Jenik each recorded multiple-point performances in Friday’s Game Two win over Coachella Valley. Carcone factored into each of the Roadrunners first two scores with a goal and an assist before adding his second goal of the game with 2:43 gone by in the second period. The performance marked the fourth three-point outing in Roadrunners Playoff history, as Carcone joined Dylan Strome (3a), Carter Camper (1g 2a) and current Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse (3a). He also became the fifth Tucson skater with multiple goals in a single Playoff game along with Strome, Mario Kempe, Michael Bunting and Dakota Mermis. Meanwhile, Jan Jenik registered assists on back-to-back Roadrunners tallies in Friday’s first period and enters Sunday with three points (1g 2a) in three career AHL postseason appearances. The 22-year-old previously lit the lamp for Tucson in his playoff debut against the San Jose Barracuda in the 2021 Playoffs.
3) The Roadrunners were the only team in the AHL’s Western Conference to force a Game Three in the First Round of the Calder Cup Playoffs after the Colorado Eagles, Abbotsford Canucks, and the Central Division’s Rockford IceHogs all dispatched their opponents in two games. The outcome of Sunday’s contest between Tucson and Coachella Valley will determine both matchups of the AHL Pacific Division Semifinals. A Roadrunners win on Sunday would send them to Calgary to take on the first-place Wranglers in a best-of-five series beginning next week, pitting the third-place Colorado Eagles and fourth-place Abbotsford Canucks against each other on the other side of the Pacific Division Playoff bracket. More importantly, the Roadrunners advancing to the Second Round would bring Playoff Hockey and a Whiteout to the Tucson Arena for Game Three, as well as Games Four and Five if necessary. Playoff Passes are already on sale at TucsonRoadrunners.com/WhiteoutCentral, while single-game tickets will be made available prior to the start of the Second Round should the Roadrunners win and advance.
What’s The Word?
“We stuck to our game plan, and that was the way we prepared. We tried to stick to what we do and understand our identity, and the guys in the locker room did a great job of competing for 60 minutes. It takes 60 minutes to win a hockey game, maybe more. [Coachella Valley] had a good push at the end, and I think [Friday] showed that we’re a deep team that can win those games.”Roadrunners defenseman Steven Kampfer on Tucson forcing Game Three against the Firebirds after a 4-3 win in Game Two on Friday.
Number to Know
35 – The number of saves made by Roadrunners backstop Ivan Prosvetov in Game Two on Friday, earning the 24-year-old his first career Calder Cup Playoff victory and ranking one save short of setting a new Roadrunners Playoff record. Prosvetov was in net for all 60 minutes of Friday’s 4-3 win while not allowing a five-on-five goal, extending his streak without an even-strength goal given up to 108:25 from Wednesday’s Game One. Since the Firebirds put up a three-goal first period against Prosvetov in Game One, which was his first game action in over a week, Tucson’s regular-season wins leader has gone a combined 56-for-59 with a .949 save percentage. Including regular season and playoffs, Friday’s win was the 55th career AHL victory for Prosvetov, the second most in Roadrunners team history behind Adin Hill (70).
We’re Doing It Live
Today’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 2:45 with Roadrunners Warm-Up hosted by Jimmy Peebles, before “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny has all the action from the Acrisure Arena. The game will also be shown at the Roadrunners FREE Playoff Watch Party at Main Event on South Landing Way, along with food and drink specials, discounted play cards, prize raffles and more available for fans in attendance.