Game #35: Tucson (4) at Colorardo (2)
SOG: TUC (28) – COL (33)
PP: TUC (0/3) – COL (0/3)
TUC SCORING: Miele (10), Bennett (7), Miele (11), Steenbergen (5en)
COL SCORING: Megna (12), Bowers (6)
ROADRUNNERS WIN PARKS’ FIRST AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE START, STAY ATOP AHL STANDINGS
Less than 36 hours after signing an American Hockey League tryout and just 24 hours after making his AHL debut in relief, Tyler Parks made 31 saves Saturday night, earning a win for the Tucson Roadrunners in his first American Hockey League start.
A scoreless game gave way in the second period when the two sides struck for three goals all just 63 seconds apart, beginning with Andy Miele’s first of the night, giving Parks his first lead. A heavy forecheck from Beau Bennett and Brayden Burke forced an errant pass by Colorado in their own end, allowing Vili Saarijarvi to setup Miele’s 10thof the season.
Colorado would answer with a goal of their own just 44 seconds later, however, 19 seconds following the equalizer, Brayden Burke’s hustle created an opportunity for Beau Bennett, who sprung Tucson back into the lead and one that they would hold through the end of two periods.
To start the third Andy Miele etched his second of the evening, once again created by the work of Burke, providing insurance to Tucson’s advantage.
Thanks to a few timely stops from Parks, the Roadrunners maintained their control until Tyler Steenbergen would once again further it to a 4-1 margin with an empty net goal inside of the final three minutes.
The Eagles would beat Parks once more before the final horn but upon the final horn, the journey of Tyler Parks had added another chapter, a victory in the AHL in his first full attempt.
THEY SAID IT
“You can always count on us to respond after a game like Friday night. We did that. We’re super proud of our team, we’re super proud of [Tyler Parks] for getting his first win. We had a lot of confidence in him in net and it’s easy when you have a lot of confidence in your goalie to play your game.”Forward Andy Miele passionately sharing his pride following tonight’s win.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
Although Michael Bunting’s nine-game point streak came to an end in the affair, held off the score sheet for the first time since December 13, the league’s leader in assists (31) still played a pivotal role in Saturday’s outcome. In his ever-embraced role of working his way under the opposition’s skin, a few tussles between Bunting and Sheldon Dries resulted in Colorado’s #15 going to the box three times, creating three separate momentum bursts for his club. Despite Tucson not scoring on the power play, they did score Miele’s second of the night at four-on-four during another trip to the box for both Dries and Bunting.
On a separate note, Brayden Burke was credited with a pair of assists Saturday, although he played a massive role in the team’s first goal that won’t show up on the score sheet. Playing in his 100thgame, Tucson’s #41 was impressive from start to finish.
GOTTA SEE IT
Speaking of that Tucson first goal, have a glance at it. It seems long, however, after two lost defensive zone faceoff draws directly resulted in Tucson goals against Friday, what transpires here is the exact opposite.
Miele wins the faceoff, then Russo shuffles the puck out. Brayden Burke and Beau Bennett then come in heavy on the forecheck, creating a bit of trouble for Colorado. Robbie Russo then swings in to create the snapping of the final straw, an Eagle turnover that winds up right on the tape of Vili Saarijarvi, who then goes to an uncovered Miele. All five names on the ice mentioned, a wonderful example of hard work to get the game’s first goal.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
The man of the hour, the man of the night, the man of the day, Tyler Parks. In a story that makes him just about impossible to cheer against, consisting of 84 games in the Southern Professional Hockey League (“Single-A”) and the ECHL (“Double-A”), the Imperial, MO-born netminder got his first American Hockey League start at the age of 27 this evening.
Especially in situations like this, there’s got to be a lot of mental weight that goes into preparation. However, as seen here, Tyler was prepared and he leaves victorious. Last night it was congratulatory cheers for an honorable debut, tonight, much more.