Game #53: Tucson (4) at Ontario (8)
SOG: TUC (35) – ONT (37)
PP: TUC (0/3) – ONT (1/3)
TUC SCORING: Bennett (12), Speers (3), Hannikainen (8), Bunting (11)
ONT SCORING: Grundstrom (12), Sutter (8), Sutter (9), Anderson-Dolan (8), Bjornfot (6), LaDue (9pp), Imama (4), Sutter (10en)
TUCSON’S BLAZING START EXTINGUISHED BY REIGN
Despite two goals on their first two shots Friday night, Tucson found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-4 score at Toyota Arena in Ontario.
Just 47 seconds in Beau Bennett peeled from the blocker-side wall of Kevin Poulin toward the center of the point and thanks to a screen in front by Brayden Burke, Tucson had an early 1-0 advantage.
1:24 later Blake Speers then made that advantage a pair. A delightful display of deception by Robbie Russo, who entered the zone and faked a shot but ultimately slap-passed it back door to a wide-open Speers, led to the second of the night for Tucson.
Michael Chaput would then ring the post on a breakaway and the Roadrunners would knock on the door a few times during an extended power play, however, the next goal of the night came from the Reign. Not only did it pull Ontario within one, it begin a string of three unanswered that brought the home side all the way into the lead.
Down by a goal in the middle portion of the second, Markus Hannikainenwould then bring Tucson back to even at 3-3. Following a zone entry Kyle Capobiancodropped the puck off for Michael Bunting, who passed it to the slot for Michael Chaput, where the captain would get not one, but two attempts before his second effort was put home by the newcomer for his first as a member of the team.
Unfortunately Hannikainen’s game-tying goal only lasted for 37 seconds before Ontario would strike twice within two minutes to take a 5-3 lead into the second intermission.
Despite a goal from Michael Bunting inside of the first 2:58 of the final period of regulation, Ontario would score three more before the end of the night to capsize the Roadrunners with an 8-4 final.
It marks the first game all season that Tucson has lost in regulation when scoring four or more goals.
Ivan Prosvetov suffered the loss, allowing seven on 36 shots.
The Roadrunners will now bus two hours north to Bakersfield ahead of a Sunday night meeting against the Condors.
THEY SAID IT
“It was a weird game tonight. There was a lot of back-and-forth play. I thought we came out really strong in the first but that almost ended up backfiring on us in the long run. We got a little too comfortable.”Roadrunners forward Hudson Fasching speaking honestly post-game.
DON’T OVERLOOK IT
Ontario came to play tonight.
It wasn’t the same effort, or anything remotely close to that of what we saw from the Reign in the first seven meetings this season. To further that point, tonight’s final score is more of an indication of how well they played as opposed to anything suggesting the Roadrunners played poorly.
If Ontario played the same way they had in their first seven matchups against Tucson this season against the rest of the division, they wouldn’t be anywhere near a playoff spot. However, they are and that’s because tonight the Roadrunners saw the side of the Reign that comes out against the other Pacific teams.
GOTTA SEE IT
He’s only spent three full days with the team but he’s already played in two games and has two points, including this, his first goal as a member of the club.
When you hear a hockey coach or a hockey player say “just being in the good areas”, Hannikainen is the definition of that right here. Michael Chaput gets the first two tries but the Finnish winger is around and makes himself available for a rebound to put home.
PHOTO OF THE GAME
A very neat moment of tonight’s starting lineup captured during the anthem this evening.