Different location, same results.
After a near two-week road trip to Iowa and Texas that consisted of a flawless four-game run, the Roadrunners returned home to Tucson Arena this weekend and earned the same result twice over the Ontario Reign.
Friday vs. Ontario (6-3 Win)
Having scored multiple times on the power play during their most recent victory on December 14 in Texas, the special teams units wound up being the deciding factor once again to start the weekend.
Despite giving up the first goal of the night, Kevin Hancock’s second of the season (on a wonderful feed from Jeremy Gregoire) knotted the contest up before the end of the opening 20 minutes and Tucson never looked back.
Lane Pederson gave Tucson the lead to start the second and then Hudson Fasching and Robbie Russo struck back-to-back on the power play to give Tucson full command.
To wrap up the night Fasching would add another pair of goals, giving him the team’s second hat trick of the season and eighth in team history for the win.
With Adin Hill being recalled to Glendale earlier in the week, Ivan Prosvetov guided the team to his eighth successful start with a heavy 37 stops.
In the winning effort, Tucson’s newest #10, Blake Speers, made his debut with the team after being acquired earlier in the week from New Jersey.
Saturday vs. Ontario (8-0 Win)
Perhaps the best night in the organization’s four-year history, Saturday was chalk-full of records as the team earned their largest margin of victory ever.
It only took 9:06 for Michael Bunting to record the team’s fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss goal, bringing a record 5,800 bears to the ice. As the stuffed items poured their way from a buzzing Tucson Arena crowd, the energy provoked a scoring onslaught that included both three goals in the first and second periods for the home side.
Both Andy Miele and Jon Martin had multiple goals before all was said and done and the aforementioned power play made it a third straight game with numerous successful attempts.
As phenomenal as the offense was, goaltender Ivan Prosvetov, playing in his first professional stint of two games in two nights, was stellar as well and earned his first American Hockey League shutout, stopping all 27 of Ontario’s attempts.
Not to be lost in the mix either, defenseman Vili Saarijarvi had a three assist night and continues to be a wonderful addition to the Tucson lineup. The Fin had just one point in 13 games before coming over from Grand Rapids to start the month and now already has four points in eight games with his new club; with all four assists coming in the last three games.
En route to the team’s eighth straight win on home ice, the team dually moved their all-time longest winning streak to eight.
Where They Stand
Record: 23-5-0-0 (46 Points – .821 Win Percentage)
Pacific Division: First Place / First Place
Western Conference: Second Place / First Place
The Week That Was
Friday, December 20
Reign (3) at Roadrunners (6)
Saturday, December 21
Reign (0) at Roadrunners (8)
Up & Down
Monday, December 16
- Forward Brayden Burke loaned to Tucson by the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
Tuesday, December 17
- Goaltender Adin Hill recalled by the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
Wednesday, December 18
- Defenseman Robbie Russo loaned to Tucson by the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
- Defenseman Jordan Gross recalled from Tucson by the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
- Goaltender Adin Hill loaned to Tucson by the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
Friday, December 20
- Goaltender Adin Hill recalled from Tucson by the Arizona Coyotes (NHL).
Monday, December 16
- Forwards Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr traded to New Jersey (NHL) as a part of a trade in exchange for Taylor Hall and Blake Speers.
Alumni In Action
Sunday night defenseman Jordan Gross made his NHL debut and recorded his first NHL point, an assist, in the Coyotes win over the Detroit Red Wings. He also finished with a plus-three in his first NHL game.
With 88 career AHL games with the Roadrunners, the undrafted defenseman out of Notre Dame continues to have an excellent start to his pro career, becoming the newest graduate of the organization’s pipeline.
In The System
Keeghan Howedeshell continues to be the name to watch with the team’s ECHL affiliate in Rapid City, as the first-year forward posted multiple assists in Saturday’s game for the Rush.
Now with 15 points in 23 games, the left-handed shot has found his stride as of late.
Highlight Of The Week
While Michael Bunting’s Teddy Bear Toss goal was amazing and Hudson Fasching’s strange hat trick were both excellent candidates, we had to make sure Jeremy Gregoire’s simple, yet effective breakaway goal from Saturday night got its shine as well.
While playing largely on the fourth line this season, Gregoire has been outstanding for the club as of late and now sits sixth in points.
Also, how about that stretch pass from Jalen Smereck?