Game #54: Tucson (3) at Bakersfield (2)
SOG: TUC (20) – BAK (34)
PP: TUC (1/5) – BAK (0/3)
TUC SCORING: Klima (6), Hannikainen (9), Capobianco (8pp)
BAK SCORING: Kulevich (5), Gambardella (13)
TUCSON WRAPS UP CALIFORNIA WEEKEND WITH WIN IN BAKERSFIELD
Two goals in the first five minutes for the second straight contest propelled the Roadrunners to victory Sunday night, taking down the Bakersfield Condors 3-2 at Mechanics Bank Arena.
Just like Friday evening in Ontario, the very first shot of the game resulted in an early lead for the Roadrunners. A nice defensive zone breakup by Kyle Capobianco allowed Andy Miele to spring Kelly Klima on a breakaway, one where he’d beat Stuart Skinner just 64 seconds in.
The goal proved to be an early capitalization for Klima, who was slotted onto the team’s second line with Miele and Beau Bennett.
Again, like Friday night, Tucson followed Klima’s sixth of the season with another goal inside the opening five minutes to take a 2-0 lead. The goal was potentially one of the best scored league-wide all season, as newcomer Markus Hannikainen shot between his legs for his third point in three games with the team. The play was made possible by Michael Bunting, who intercepted an attempted breakout by the Condors and shuffled it to the newest member of the team, who was all alone in front.
Bakersfield would beat Adin Hill before the end of the first period, however, the momentum shifted back in the favor of the Roadrunners thanks to a second period power play tally from Kyle Capobianco. Again, setup by Miele, the veteran center floated a pass to the center point from the corner and Tucson’s All-Star defenseman blistered home his eighth of the year for his 34th point of the season. The multipoint performance by the Roadrunners number 23 extends his league lead in points-per-game by a defenseman, minimum 20 games played.
Despite a late goal from the Condors with the extra attacker on, time ran out on their bid to even the game, providing the Roadrunners with their one-goal victory.
Adin Hill earned the win behind it all for his team, denying 32 of 34, including 14 in the third period.
The Roadrunners will play a Thursday-Saturday set in Chicago against the Wolves, AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights.
THEY SAID IT
“We knew coming in that [Bakersfield] is a good skating team and good in transition. We needed to manage the puck well against them to get the win and we did.”Roadrunners forward Kelly Klima speaking on why he believes his team was successful tonight.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
As the Roadrunners were in progress tonight, the Colorado Eagles took down the league’s best Milwaukee Admirals 3-1 in Loveland. That meant the Roadrunners needed a win to stay in first place and that they did.
Up 2-0 early and then facing a major pushback, Tucson didn’t get too confident or too far up on their horse. They stayed consistent and as Bakersfield shot them selves in the foot with penalties, the Roadrunners rode it out and used a nice performance from their netminder to steer the ship the rest of the way.
GOTTA SEE IT
You’ll see it on the AHL’s Plays of the Week, you’ll see it on the Roadrunners highlights of the year and if there were an all-time Tucson goals playlist assembled, you’d see it on there.
Yeah, we like this Markus guy!
PHOTO OF THE GAME
Kelly Klima provided a little bit of everything tonight, mixing it up physically against a Condors team that started playing rough after falling behind early.
Never the biggest character on the ice, Klima rarely ever backs down from anything though.