The Road We Ran: Tucson Roadrunners 2022-2023 Season Recap
Reaching The Finish Line
The Tucson Roadrunners finished the 2022-2023 season on Sunday, falling to the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a decisive Game Three in the First Round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Roadrunners made the postseason by increasing their win total by seven from the 2021-2022 campaign, the second biggest jump of any playoff team in the AHL Pacific Division and the sixth-best win improvement in the league. Tucson closed out the year with an even or better record against seven of their nine division opponents, including five of the other six who qualified for the postseason. The 2022-2023 Roadrunners were a high-scoring team, as their 219 goals scored were the most in franchise history and the fourth most in the Pacific Division. Tucson also led the league with 1,271 penalty minutes, and set AHL single-game highs this season in goals (9), penalty minutes (86), major penalties (5), first-period goals (6), first-period shots on goal (24), and power-play goals (5).
Tons Of Fun
The Roadrunners hosted several community events for their fans and for Southern Arizona throughout the season. The team hosted two post-game open skates following Sunday afternoon contests at the Tucson Arena, along with an outdoor skating rink outside the Arena during the Holiday season in conjunction with several other community partners. Hockey and Hops, Whiskey and Wings, and Tacos and Tequila all fired fans up before Saturday night matchups, and $2 Twos-Days and Kids Free Wednesdays made the weeknight outings even better. Along the way, the Roadrunners hosted three postgame jersey bid to win events, and players made visits out in the community at schools, at local reading events, JR Roadrunners practices, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson. As Tucson made their postseason push with the First Round Series against the Coachella Valley Firebirds, dedicated fans could be found throughout Main Event at the team’s Official Playoff Watch Party Headquarters.
A Career Year For Carcone
Roadrunners Forward Mike Carcone set career highs across the board on his way to leading the American Hockey League in total scoring with 31 goals, 54 assists and 85 total points in 65 games played. In his third season with Tucson, the 26-year-old set franchise records in goals, assists, points, power-play goals (14), shots on goal (273) while also setting the longest point streak in team history at 15 games. He finished in the top five in the league in goals (t-5th), assists (3rd), and power-play goals (t-3rd), and his 273 shots and 15-game scoring streak both led the AHL. Carcone earned his first career AHL All-Star selection, was named to the AHL First All-Star Team at the end of the season, was chosen as the AHL’s Player of the Month for December 2022, and won the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the league’s leading point-getter. He also registered three goals in nine NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes on the year.
Captain Adam Cracknell Led The Way
Forward Adam Cracknell served as Captain of the Tucson Roadrunners in 2022-2023, his first season with the team. While leading the Roadrunners to the postseason, Cracknell set AHL career highs with 32 assists and 53 total points (21g 32a) with a plus-12, his highest mark since the 2011-2012 season. Cracknell finished in the top three on the Roadrunners in goals (3rd), assists (2nd), and total points (2nd), while notching 16 multiple-point performances.
J.S. Dea Dazzles In Desert Debut
In his first year with the Roadrunners, forward J.S. Dea reached 50 points for the second-straight season and for the third time in his AHL career. Dea scored the second-most goals for Tucson and in his American Hockey League career with 23, and was one of three Roadrunners (Mike Carcone, Adam Cracknell) to record at least 50 points on the year, the most in a single season in team history. The 2022-2023 campaign with Tucson marked Dea’s first season playing for a team outside of the Eastern Time Zone, and the 29-year-old also appeared in four NHL contests with the Arizona Coyotes.
Trips Up The I-10
A total of 11 different players received the call to the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes from the Tucson Roadrunners this season: Defenseman Victor Soderstrom led the way with nine assists in 30 games played for the Coyotes while also tallying 21 points (2g 19a) in 44 games for Tucson. Soderstrom was joined fellow blue-liners Michael Kesselring (9 games played) and Vlad Kolyachonok (2), as well as forwards Laurent Dauphin (21), Milos Kelemen (14), Mike Carcone (9), Boko Imama (5), Nathan Smith (13), J.S. Dea (4), and Jan Jenik (2). Finally, goaltender Ivan Prosvetov earned four wins in seven NHL starts after setting an AHL career high with 16 victories for Tucson.
Doan Goes Pro
The Roadrunners and their fans saw the highly anticipated professional debut of forward Josh Doan when he joined the team in March following his sophomore season at Arizona State University. Doan made his American Hockey League debut with Tucson on March 17 against the Calgary Wranglers and scored his first pro goal two games later on March 21. The 21-year-old finished the year with six points (3g 3a) in 14 games played. Other AHL debuts this season for the Roadrunners included forwards Reece Vitelli and Michael Lombardi, who each lit the lamp in their first American Hockey League outings; along with forwards Micah Miller and Michal Mrazik, and defenseman Noah Laaouan.
Ivan Impresses Again
Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov set an AHL career high with 16 wins in his fourth campaign with the Roadrunners, as he led the team in game played with 35 outings. Prosvetov posted his fourth career shutout with 23 saves on February 3 against the Ontario Reign. The 24-year-old closed out the regular season by earning standings points in each of his final five AHL outings by going 3-0-2 and earned his first ever Calder Cup Playoff win on Friday, April 21. Prosvetov ranks second all-time among Tucson backstops with 125 games played and 54 regular season victories.
Tipping Our Caps
The Roadrunners witnessed a total of four hat tricks by four different players throughout the 2022-2023 season, with all four coming on home ice at the Tucson Arena. Laurent Dauphin was the first to net three goals for Tucson, doing so in the Roadrunners fourth game of the season in a 5-3 win over the Bakersfield Condors. Next up was Milos Kelemen, who scored three times in the final 21:11 of regulation in a 6-3 win over the San Jose Barracuda. Less than a month later, forward Mike Carcone recorded a four-point night with three goals in a 7-2 come-from-behind win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds, as two of the three tallies came while on the power-play. Finally, J.S. Dea registered his first professional hat trick in a 6-3 win over the Abbotsford Canucks with a pair of third-period goals following a game-opening tally in the first period.
Aside from the numerous individual records achieved by Mike Carcone this season, a number of Roadrunners team records were also set in 2021-2022. Tucson’s offense was faster than ever, as this season saw new records for the fastest goal to start a game and the fastest consecutive goals by the Roadrunners. Captain Adam Cracknell lit the lamp 10 seconds into the first period against the Coachella Valley Firebirds on November 12, 2022, beating the previous fastest goal to start a game by eight seconds (18 seconds, scored by Cole Hults on March 12, 2022). Just over a month later on December 17, Laurent Dauphin and Mike Carcone found the back of the net ten seconds apart in the first period against the San Diego Gulls for the fastest back-to-back tallies in team history. The pair of goals took place in a record-setting first period in San Diego, as Tucson netted a record six goals in the opening 20 minutes on their way to a 9-4 win over the Gulls. Their nine goals matched a team record for the most scores in a single game from another victory against the Gulls in May 2021, and was also tied for an AHL season high. On special-teams, the Roadrunners put up a franchise record five power-play goals in a 7-2 comeback win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds on December 13, and their contest with the San Jose Barracuda on October 29 featured the most penalty minutes racked up by Tucson in a single game at 86.
Tucson wore a total of seven jerseys throughout the 2022-2023 season, several of which were sold, bid on, or raffled off to raise money for Roadrunners Community Efforts in Southern Arizona. Along with the regular Roadrunners White and Red jerseys (with the Reds now paired with black helmets), the team unveiled new White Kachina and Red El Lazo Alternate Jerseys. Military Appreciation and First Responders Jerseys were worn for single games on November 12 and March 18, with both games going past regulation. In addition to the six game-worn jerseys, the Roadrunners wore Black History Month Warm-Up Jerseys that forward Boko Imama aided in the design of for each of their February home games.Listen to “The Final Curtain with Steve Potvin” on Spreaker.
The Season Finale of Tucson Roadrunners Happy Hour aired on Tuesday, April 25 at 5 p.m. on FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app, as co-hosts Adrian Denny, Brett Fera and Kim Cota-Robles looked back on their favorite moments of the 2022-2023 season were joined by Roadrunners Head Coach Steve Potvin. Podcast versions of each episode from the 2022-2023 season are available on the iHeartRadio app. In addition, the Tucson Roadrunners Insider Podcast will continue to release weekly episodes all offseason long, as “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny and TucsonRoadrunners.com’s Jimmy Peebles will check in on Tucson players and coaches and keep fans up to date on any offseason moves. The podcast can be found on the iHeartRadio App or at TucsonRoadrunners.com/Podcast.Listen to “Getting The Last Word” on Spreaker.
Never Too Early
Season Ticket Memberships for the 2023-2024 season are available now at TucsonRoadrunners.com/MembersOnly. Memberships start at just $14 per-game, and include: an annual gift, exclusive player events, discounted pricing and playoff priority for the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs.