Game #1: Tucson Roadrunners at Texas Stars
Time: 5:00 p.m. MST, H.E.B. Center, Cedar Park, Texas
LISTEN LIVE HERE
WATCH LIVE HERE (AHLtv Freeview)
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Referees: Mike Dietrich, Graedy Hamilton
Linespersons: Jeremy Faucher, Carl Sasyn
The Tucson Roadrunners open their season on the road against the Texas Stars to start the 2023-24 season. It will be Tucson’s first of three series matchups against Central Division Teams and its only trip to Texas all season. The Roadrunners look to build off of its strong 2022-23 campaign, following a playoff appearance while the Stars will try to continue their dominance and clinch first place in the Central Division for the Dallas Stars affiliate’s second straight season.
1) Four players could be dressing for their North American pro hockey debuts including: forward Aku Raty, defensemen Maksymilian Szuber, defenseman Patrik Koch and goaltender Jared Moe. Aku Raty was drafted 151st overall by the Coyotes in the 2019 NHL Draft and spent the last four seasons in the SM-Liiga compiling 177 games, 35 goals and 43 assists for 78 points. He had an assist in the one and only preseason game in Henderson. He also has a younger brother, Aatu Raky, who currently plays with the Abbotsford Canucks. Maksymilian Szuber was drafted in the 2022 NHL Draft in the 6th round by the Coyotes. The 6-foot-3 Poland native has played hockey primarily in Germany for the AlpsHL, GerObL and DEL. Patrick Koch is entering his 10th season in pro hockey overall. He’s split his first nine seasons between the Slovak Extraliga and Czech Extraliga. He played in the U.S as part of his junior career with the USHL and NAHL before ultimately playing for the U-20 World Junior Slovak team before going pro. Netminder Jared Moe was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 6th round of the 2018 draft. Moe has never touched the surface of a pro hockey game only playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL and the University of Minnesota as well as the University of Wisconsin for NCAA. However, he did stop all 14 shots that he saw in the third period and overtime last Friday in Henderson’s preseason action.
2) With Texas’ top point getter Riley Barber going to the KHL, forward Curtis McKenzie is the highest scoring player from their roster last season. McKenzie scored 22 goals and 32 assists in his 2022-23 campaign and has over 400 total points entering year 10 of his career. In four games against Tucson last season, McKenzie had 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) with 13 shots on net.
3) Last season as a team defensively, the Stars were 5th in the league on the penalty-kill, executing at the 85% mark but at home its percentage dipped to 81% which is middle of the pack. Tucson’s power-play by the end of last season had a success rate of 16.1% total and 11.6% on the road. In their last game against Texas on April 8; the Roadrunners went 2-4 on the power-play to erase a 4-0 deficit and collect a standings point on the same night that they clinched a playoff berth.
What’s the word?
“It’s great, management and the coaches did a good job in finding some good quality guys to give us some options, we’re excited and everyone is anticipating tomorrow a little bit so we can get going and be ready for a full season.”Roadrunners veteran Steven Kampfer on the season opener and how the Roadrunners management has placed a great group of guys together to win games ahead of Friday’s matchup.
Number to Know:
5 – The number of openers the Roadrunners have won in a row dating back to the 2018 season when they defeated the San Diego Gulls by a score of 6-4 on Oct 6. In that five-game span, they’ve outscored their opponents by 13-6 and look to make it six seasons in a row with a season opener win. They won at Texas 2-0 to open the 2019 campaign.
We’re Doing It Live
Tonight’s game will be broadcasted live on the radio on FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. with Roadrunners Warm-Up hosted by Jonathon Schaffer, before “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny has all the action from the H.E.B Center. The game will also be free to stream as party of AHL TV’s Freeview where all games of the opening weekend are free to stream.