Game #55: Tucson (4) at Chicago (2)
SOG: TUC (30) – CHI (25)
PP: TUC (0/3) – CHI (2/6)
TUC SCORING: Hancock (4), Smereck (1), Steenbergen (7), Gregoire (8)
CHI SCORING: Quinney (16pp), Zykov (10pp)
TUCSON EXTENDS PACIFIC DIVISION LEAD WITH WIN IN CHICAGO
A multipoint performance from Jalen Smereck, 23 stops from Adin Hill and a game-winner by Tyler Steenbergen inside the final four minutes allowed the Roadrunners to move their first place cushion to five points Thursday night in Rosemont, IL, taking down the Chicago Wolves by a score of 4-2.
The contest began with Tucson scoring the game’s opening goal for the sixth straight contest. 8:26 in a shot from the point by Smereck squeaked its way through Wolves’ netminder Oscar Dansk, dropping a rebound behind him that was tucked home by Kevin Hancock for his fourth of the year.
Unfortunately the Roadrunners first lead of the night would last only 55 seconds though, as Chicago would strike on the power play for their first tally of the evening.
Settled at 1-1 for over 20 minutes, it was then Smereck who broke the tie. Flinging a harmless-looking wrist shot towards the net from the left point, an excellent screen in front by five-foot-nine Andy Miele caused just enough of a distraction on Dansk that the shot itself snuck through to give Tucson the lead.
This time around the Roadrunners’ lead would last for over a full period, well into the third, in fact. Then though is where a penalty cost the away side again, allowing a second power play goal that tied the game at 2-2 with only 3:56 to go in regulation.
So then, when it looked like the game was headed to overtime, Tucson responded with their most important shift of the night, resulting in a game-winning goal from Tyler Steenbergen just 19 seconds after the Wolves tied it. A shot from the point by Cam Dineen generated a rebound to the glove-side circle of Dansk, one that was immediately put back home by Steenbergen for his seventh of the year.
For good measure, Jeremy Gregoire, who had a strong, energetic evening throughout, put home an empty net goal, pushing the score to its 4-2 final.
The victory wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Adin Hill though, as he put together yet another impressive evening, denying 23 of 25 for his third win in eight days.
Tucson and Chicago will meet head-to-head again Saturday night at Allstate Arena to conclude their season series before the Roadrunners return home for four games in six days.
THEY SAID IT
“All lines contributed tonight. Even though not every line got a point, they created momentum for the whole team and that’s huge for us in this last stretch of the season.”Roadrunners forward Kevin Hancock sharing his thoughts on the whole team’s effort tonight.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
A point is a point this time of year and it would’ve still assisted Tucson in the standings if they had only gone to overtime tonight. However, despite a seemingly back-breaking goal by Chicago late in the game, the Roadrunners didn’t fold and responded in a massive way to slam the door on the Wolves.
Tyler Steenbergen, who played the majority of the night with Kevin Hancock and Jon Martin, was thrust onto a line with Andy Miele and Beau Bennett following Chicago’s tally and cashed in with arguably his biggest goal of the season to carve his team a victory.
GOTTA SEE IT
Adin Hill continues to look like an NHL netminder since returning from the Arizona Coyotes just over a week ago.
This crucial two-on-one stop in the second period kept the contest from swinging in favor of the hosting team, just one of the many sizeable stops he had throughout the contest.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
This picture comes from the above two-on-one, as you can see Hill closing off the glove-side gap to make the stop.
You can now make that 84 stops on 89 shots since last Wednesday.