Even when the outcomes on the ice don’t go in favor of the team, there always seems to be underlying positives that matter more than the results themselves.
This week, not even so much so underlying.
Any time your organization, city on a national level, it’s an exciting moment and such was the case over the weekend for Jay Varady, Brayden Burke and Kyle Capobianco at the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic.
To read more on how that went, visit here for an all-encompassing recap.
Tuesday at San Diego (3-1 Win)
Making his first AHL appearance for the first time in five weeks after nine appearances with the Arizona Coyotes, Adin Hill looked like an NHL goaltender over the course of 60 minutes in the team’s win to open their week’s schedule.
Denying 39 of 40 chances by the i-8 Rival, Hill matched his season high with his total number of saves, including 19 on a strong push by the home side in the third period. The only goal that beat him all night was one that came with a bit of question, a Daniel Sprong breakaway that came immediately following his exit from the penalty box, one that left the Roadrunners arguing that he had played the puck before both feet touched the playing surface, which would thus have blown the play dead.
However, it would not make a difference in the outcome of the game, as the offense in front of Hill did its job, thanks to a trio of multipoint performances from Kevin Hancock, Tyler Steenbergen and Aaron Ness. The third line, which consisted of Hancock, Steenbergen and Hudson Fasching was undeniably the group’s best combo throughout the night, scoring the first two goals of the night and setting up the final in the midst of a line change to Blake Speers.
San Diego had won five in a row entering but by the end of the night they’d had that snapped and the I-8 Rivalry series evened.
Friday vs. Bakersfield (3-2 Loss)
Coming home for their first home game in 20 days with three wins on their recent five-game road trip, the surging Bakersfield Condors had other ideas than letting Tucson settle back in Southern Arizona with ease.
Entering the contest the Roadrunners objective was to come out of the gates hot for the home crowd in effort to get them active and in hopes of taking an early lead, however, that didn’t happen. In fact, it was Bakersfield that took the first one, beating Ivan Prosvetov in his first start at Tucson Arena in three weeks.
Michael Chaput would tie it up before the end of the first but two from Bakersfield in the second, including a power play tally would jolt them back into the driver’s seat with their biggest lead of the evening.
All-Star Brayden Burke would setup fellow All-Star Kyle Capobianco for a power play goal before the contest was over, but held to just 23 shots, the offense wasn’t there in it’s needed capacity, thus taking a weekend opening loss.
Saturday vs. Bakersfield (4-1 Loss)
Unfortunately Saturday wasn’t much better for the gang and a Bakersfield group that currently sits just outside a Pacific Division playoff spot showed why they likely wouldn’t be there much longer.
Limited to even fewer shots in the second affair of the weekend, Tucson was unable to generate once again and was behind the eight ball from the get-go. Two goals in the first 6:41 from the Condors was all they would need, but sandwiched in between their next few, Kelly Klima notched a beautiful wrist shot goal.
All-Star Brayden Burke played setup for the second straight night, hitting a streaking second-year pro for a wrist flick that rifled off of the crossbar and immediately downward for one of the goals of the year for Tucson.
As prefaced though, the Condors would tack two more on, exiting Southern Arizona with a pair of wins and sending the Roadrunners into the All-Star break with some things to work on when they return.
Where They Stand
Record: 28-11-1-0 (57 Points / .713 Win Percentage)
Pacific Division: First Place / First Place
Western Conference: Second Place / Second Place
The Week That Was
Tuesday, January 21
Roadrunners (3) at Gulls (1)
Friday, January 24
Condors (3) at Roadrunners (2)
Saturday, January 25
Condors (4) at Roadrunners (1)
Up & Down
Sunday, January 19
- Goaltender Tyler Parks released from professional tryout.
Friday, January 24
- Forward Keeghan Howdeshell loaned to Rapid City (ECHL).
Monday, January 27
- Goaltender Adin Hill recalled by Arizona (NHL).
Alumni In Action
The Arizona Coyotes spent their CBA-mandated bye week going into the NHL’s All-Star Break.
So, with that being said, how about the first half for Conor Garland? 16 goals paces the Coyotes and while a 20-goal season at the NHL level is a massive accomplishment, Garland appears to be well on his way to 30.
In The System
With a goal and three assists in Rapid City’s three games against Wichita, Jalen Smereck has upped his total to 11 points in 11 games with the Rush thus far this year. The offensively gifted blueliner continues to perform well at the ECHL level.
Highlight Of The Week
It’s at minimum one of the most well-placed shots of the year and now having reached the All-Star Break, one would have to guess that this would also be in the category of goals of the year as well for the team.
Make sure your volume is up and enjoy the pulsating “ping” from this Kelly Klima gem.