Game #52: San Diego (1) at Tucson (4)
SOG: SD (30) – TUC (32)
PP: SD (0/2) – TUC (0/2)
TUC SCORING: Dineen (5), Bennett (11), Fasching (19), Chaput (16)
STK SCORING: Carrick (21)
HILL RETURNS, HANNIKAINEN DEBUTS AS ROADRUNNERS EARN IMPORTANT PACIFIC DIVISION POINTS
Backed by a cool 29 stops by Adin Hill in his first American Hockey League game in over a month, Tucson earned a 4-1 defeat over the San Diego Gulls Wednesday night.
Tasked with turning away 12 of his 30 attempts in the opening 20 minutes, Hill appeared to have provided his club a calming and confident charisma that would reveal itself over the course of the game.
After denying all 12 of the tries, Cam Dineen of the Roadrunners opened the scoring just 69 seconds into the middle period. Joining his forwards on a rush, the initial effort wound up in Andy Miele’s feet, however, was corralled and from behind the net the veteran forward threw a puck out front to Dineen, who was able to put it home past a still-recovering Anthony Stolarz in net for San Diego.
The home side’s lead would last over seven minutes before Sam Carrick was able to beat Hill for the lone time all night, maneuvering to his backhand on a wraparound, just beating the Tucson netminder to his glove-side post to make it a 1-1 game.
Prior to the end of the second period the Roadrunners would retake the lead, however, coming in the form of a Beau Bennett one-time drive. Defenseman Kyle Capobianco set up the 11th of the season for the veteran winger, whose shot beat Stolarz to the blocker-side from the blocker-side circle.
Bennett’s goal would prove to the be the game-winner, but it wasn’t the last of the night in terms of offense.
In the third a strong defensive zone effort by Hudson Fasching allowed him to transition play to the other end and find the back of the net. On an odd-man rush, Fasching was in search of Blake Speers cutting to the near-side post although it wound up deflecting off of a Gulls defenders’ skate and in to make it 3-1.
To conclude the evening, newcomer Markus Hannikainen, who arrived in Southern Arizona late Tuesday night after being acquired from Columbus on Monday, made an effect pass in the attacking end to setup his former and now once again teammate Michael Chaput for a snap shot that whistled home.
The Roadrunners will now travel to California tomorrow for a weekend pair against Ontario and Bakersfield.
THEY SAID IT
“We played a lot of five-on-five time tonight. It gets our full team involved. It allowed us to get four lines on the ice playing a full 60 minutes and with that, I thought we created some rhythm to our game.”Roadrunners Head Coach Jay Varady expressing his pleasure post-game regarding the team’s ability to stay away from infractions this evening.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
While Hill was great and Hannikainen contributed immediately, the X-Factor of the evening was the Roadrunners discipline.
After a tough weekend of parading their way to the penalty box, providing Stockton with a surplus of man advantage attempts, Tucson gave San Diego just 2:06 of power play time tonight.
GOTTA SEE IT
What a bullet from Beau.
These are the type of shots that get repeatedly attempted time after time in practices and it had to have felt good for #9 to get one to go in game action. Anthony Stolarz is 6-6, 210 and he covers a lot of the net. He’s moving post-to-post on the shot here but that was a next-level shot from Bennett.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
Okay spell it with us.
H-A-N-N-I-K-A-I-N-E-N. Easy, right?
You could see the extra gleam of white on the newly placed namebar of Tucson’s newest #15 tonight. Credit to Equipment Manager Eric Bechtol and Ryan Andrus for getting that on and allowing him to draw into the lineup so soon.
Welcome to Southern Arizona, Markus!