The Rundown

In a week filled with transactions galore and a waiting game regarding goaltending situation, the Roadrunners ended a seven-day stretch on a high, revealing a tremendous story en route to another week atop the American Hockey League standings.

Friday at Colorado (5-1 Loss)

One of the most forgettable nights of the Roadrunners season thus far, Tucson was taken out of Friday night’s contest just 29 seconds in by a scalding hot Colorado Eagles team.

Entering with points in their last 11 games, an uncharacteristic turnover by the Roadrunners in their own end wound up behind Brandon Halverson and it went downhill from there.

Two more wound up behind the netminder who was making his first start in a Roadrunners sweater before he was removed from the game allowing three goals on nine shots.

In came Tyler Parks, signed to a professional tryout (PTO) Friday morning after a successful start to his season with the club’s ECHL affiliate in Rapid City.  The AHL debut for Parks, he was able to settle things down for the Roadrunners but not before Colorado jammed two past him, taking control 5-0 in the opening 25 minutes. Parks stopped 18 of 20 shots overall in his AHL debut.

A late third period power play goal from Michael Chaput allowed the league leader in assists, Michael Bunting, to extend his point streak to match a team record of nine games, however, that and Parks’ debut were the only highlights in an all-around rough night in Loveland.

Saturday at Colorado (4-2 Win)

Following Friday’s loss a confident and passionate Andy Miele spoke strongly on the team’s hatred for losing and said that the team would hold themselves to a higher standard the next night.

Not only did they do that, but it was Tucson’s 51 that also led by example.

Tucson’s alternate captain got the game’s scoring started in the first on an easy tap-in courtesy of Vili Saarijarvi, the conclusion of one of the most beautifully team executed goals of the year.  More on that later.

Colorado answered the bell just 44 seconds after the opening goal, however, the Roadrunners pushed back on that Eagle push back, retaking their lead just 19 seconds later via Beau Bennett from Brayden Burke.

Burke would then setup Andy Miele to start the third with some insurance and Tyler Steenbergen found a gaping four-by-six to conclude Tucson’s scoring at four.

While the Burke (Two Assists), Miele (Two Goals, One Assist) and Bennett (One Goal) was stellar in Burke’s 100th pro game, the story of the evening was Tucson’s backstop.

As eluded to earlier, Tyler Parks really did settle in Friday in relief, so much so earning the start on Saturday.  Strong from start to finish, the 27-year-old made 31 stops in his first career AHL start to get his first AHL win.  An incredible story added another chapter at the end of 60, a victorious one.

Final Notes:

  • Michael Bunting did not record a point in Saturday night’s win, halting his point streak at nine games.  This matches a franchise record set by Mike Sislo in January of 2018.
  • Although loaned to Tucson Friday, Ivan Prosvetov did not play for the Roadrunners in the contest and was recalled ahead of Saturday’s game.
  • Similarly, Kyle Capobianco, who was loaned to Tucson from the Coyotes Saturday, the 22-year-old AHL All-Star was not in the lineup. 

Where They Stand

Record: 25-7-1-0 (51 Points / .773 Win Percentage)

Pacific Division: First Place / First Place

Western Conference: Second Place / First Place 

The Week That Was

Friday, January 10

Roadrunners (1) at Eagles (5)

Budweiser Events Center

RECAP | BOX SCORE

Saturday, January 11

Roadrunners (4) at Eagles (2)

Budweiser Events Center

RECAP | BOX SCORE

Up & Down

Tuesday, January 7

  • Forward Keeghan Howdeshell loaned to Rapid City (ECHL).
  • Defenseman Jalen Smereck reassigned to Rapid City from Tucson by Arizona (NHL).

Friday, January 10

  • Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov loaned to Tucson from Arizona (NHL).
  • Goaltender Tyler Parks signed to a professional tryout from Rapid City (ECHL).
  • Forward Keeghan Howdeshell recalled on loan from Rapid City (ECHL).
  • Defenseman Jalen Smereck reassigned to Tucson from Rapid City (ECHL) by Arizona (NHL).

Saturday, January 11

  • Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov recalled from loan by Arizona (NHL).
  • Defenseman Kyle Capobianco returned on loan from Arizona (NHL).

Alumni In Action

What a week it was for Adin Hill.  After starting and earning a win with an NHL career-high 37 saves for the Coyotes Tuesday in Sunrise, FL against the Panthers, Adin then entered Friday’s game in relief after another injury to Antti Raanta and started Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.

In The System

Matteo Gennaro added another goal for Rapid City Saturday night, continuing his delayed start to the season.

Now 20-14-3, the Rush find themselves in a playoff spot in the ECHL’s Mountain Division and doing so without some valuable pieces as a result of trickle down caused by some health issues within the organization.  If good health finds its way back to the Arizona – Tucson – Rapid City pipeline, the Rush are going to be stocked full of talent for the “Double-A” level.

Highlight Of The Week

Tyler Parks was outstanding Saturday night in his win, however, the evening’s first goal was a work of art.

Just one night after two defensive zone faceoff losses resulted almost directly in goals against, Andy Miele wins a “D-Zone” draw here, which is then cleared by Robbie Russo. The length of the ice later, Brayden Burke and Beau Bennett cause some chaos amongst the Eagles in their own end. To put a cap on it, Robbie Russo forces the final errant pass, which leads to Vili Saarijarvi then setting up Andy Miele for a slam dunk.

Everyone involved, great end result.