Last Week, Today: December 9
Three games, three wins.
As the Roadrunners make their way through one of their busiest stretches of their season they continue to prove that they’re capable of handling most tests thrown their way as they only further their lead in the Pacific Division and maintain their status as a top tier team in the American Hockey League.
Tuesday vs. Colorado (6-3 Win)
As the team had seen with their meetings against Bakersfield and San Diego two weeks ago, the first matchup of the season versus teams can go a variety of different ways.
After struggling against first-year Colorado during the 2018-19 campaign, this years Roadrunners team proved things would be different this year, beginning Tuesday night.
A hot start with goals from Brayden Burke and Hudson Fasching in the first period wound up being critical to the team’s victory, as Colorado would push back with three goals of their own in the second period. While Tucson had a response to each Eagles tally during the middle frame, the consensus post-game was that the team wasn’t overly thrilled with their performance in the win.
Fasching added his seventh of the season for his second multi-goal performance of the season in the third and backed by a 46-save performance from Ivan Prosvetov, Tucson got the week started right.
Wednesday vs. Colorado (2-1 Win)
One of the most wholesome moments in franchise history came in round two between the two sides when fourth-year Roadrunner and fan favorite Adin Hill took on his goaltender partner of two seasons, Hunter Miska.
Miska, now a member of the Eagles after signing during the summer, put on a performance in a defensive battle, however, he was one-upped by Hill, who came away with the win when all was said and done.
A first period breakaway for Colorado was the only thing that got beyond Tucson’s 6-foot-6 netminder Wednesday and following that big backstop went into “shutdown mode”, turning away all 23+ chances thrown his way over the final 40 minutes.
The entirety of Tucson’s offense came from Brayden Burke in the second, striking twice to extend his point streak to a season team-high of seven straight games. With one goal at even strength and another on the power play, it was enough to the home side to etch out a 2-1 win, taking the midweek sweep from the Eagles.
Saturday at Iowa (4-1 Win)
After a travel day Thursday and a practice day Friday, the team then awaited an arriving Iowa team that suffered a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of the league-best Milwaukee Admirals Friday night.
Following a six-hour bus ride and arriving back in Des Moines during the morning hours of Saturday, Tucson came out of the gates red-hot sensing “blood in the water” on a tired Wild club. A three-goal first period gave the Roadrunners an advantage they were never once in jeopardy of looking back from, essentially controlling the game from start to finish.
Burke, who leads the league at the moment in both power play goals (9) and game-winning goals (5), added to his margin with a man advantage goal, however, the story was an excellent performance from the team’s fourth line.
Totaling six points amongst the three of them, Jon Martin moved into sole possession of third on the team, among active players, with eight goals after his two in this game, while both linemates Jeremy Gregoire and Kevin Hancock contributed two assists. Martin and Gregoire also both earned fighting majors late in the game, while for Hancock, it was his first professional multipoint game.
Albeit one of his lightest workloads to date, Ivan Prosvetov earned another win by denying 26 of 27. The Russian rookie now is 6-1 with four straight wins and a .942 save percentage.
Where They Stand
Record: 18-5-0-0 (36 Points – .783 Win Percentage)
Pacific Division: First Place / First Place
Western Conference: Second Place / Second Place
The Week That Was
Tuesday, December 3
Eagles (3) at Roadrunners (6)
Wednesday, December 4
Eagles (1) at Roadrunners (2)
Saturday, December 7
Roadrunners (4) at Wild (4)
Up & Down
Monday, December 2
Defenseman Ryker Killins loaned to Rapid City (ECHL)
Monday, December 9
Forward Michael Chaput loaned to Tucson (AHL) from Arizona (NHL).
Defenseman Robbie Russo recalled to Arizona (NHL) from Tucson (AHL)
Alumni In Action
Assisting the parent club by scoring in two games over their four-game road week to the east coast, Conor Garland continues to be a buzz throughout the entire National Hockey League.
Tucson’s former #8 now has 12 goals on the season for the Glendale-based team.
In The System
A weekend split against the Utah Grizzlies for the Rapid City Rush featured a three-point performance for first-year pro and Roadrunners-contracted forward Keeghan Howdeshell.
Starting to find a groove, the former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound forward now has five goals and five points for ten points in 18 games.
Highlight Of The Week
His ninth and latest power play goal was a gem from Brayden Burke. What’s truly the highlight was that all five Roadrunners touch the puck before Burke picks his spot on his release. Beau Bennett ties up his man on the faceoff, Tyler Steenbergen shuffles the puck back to Kyle Capobianco, who then sets Nick Merkley into space for a wondrous cross-ice pass.