Tucson Roadrunners Road Ahead: First Round Against The Firebirds

Tucson Roadrunners at Coachella Valley Firebirds

(All times MST, all games at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California)

Game 1: Wednesday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.

Game 2: Friday, April 21, 7:00 p.m.

Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, April 23, 3:00 p.m.

The Stage Is Set

The Tucson Roadrunners will head on the road to take on the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the First Round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. All three games of the best-of-three series will take place at the Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, where the Roadrunners and Firebirds previously met for four contests out of the eight-game season series. Tucson became the first team to defeat the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken in their new home on December 20, 2022 with a 3-2 win that saw forward Mike Carcone factor into all three Roadrunners goals for a three-point performance (2g 1a). Carcone led both teams in the season series with seven goals and four assists for 11 total points in eight games played. His seven goals against the Firebirds were the most by any Roadrunners skater against a single opponent on the year.

Whiteout Central

The Roadrunners have made TucsonRoadrunners.com/WhiteoutCentral the destination for all things Calder Cup Playoffs. The page includes a link to purchase Roadrunners Playoff Passes, which are on sale should the Roadrunners move on to the Second Round to host Playoff Hockey at the Tucson Arena, as well as Calder Cup Playoff T-shirts and pucks. Whiteout Central has the latest Roadrunners news, as well as information on the FREE Watch Parties at Main Event at 4700 South Landing Way for each Tucson road game in the Playoffs, with food and drink specials, discounted play cards, and more available for Roadrunners fans. The Roadrunners will be wearing their White Kachina Alternate Jerseys for the First Round of the Playoffs and the team’s social media accounts will be White Kachina branded to match.

Carcone Claims AHL Scoring Title

With the conclusion of the regular season, Roadrunners forward Mike Carcone was officially named the winner of the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the leading point-scorer in the AHL for the 2022-2023 campaign. Carcone posted career highs across the board with 31 goals, 54 assists and 85 total points in 65 games played, which all represent Tucson team records as well. The 26-year-old finished in the top five in goals (t-5th), assists (3rd), power-play goals (t-4th), and shots on goal (1st), while also ranking ninth in total penalty minutes with 127. The John B. Sollenberger Trophy adds to the list of accolades for Carcone this season after he was voted a First Team AHL All-Star on April 13, was named the AHL Player of the Month in December, and represented the Roadrunners and the Pacific Division at the AHL All-Star Classic in February. #CarconeMVP.

Regular Season Send-Off

Tucson closed out the 2022-2023 regular season on their home with a two-game weekend set against the San Jose Barracuda Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15. The series opener on Friday marked the third and final El Lazo de Tucson Night of the season Presented by City of Tucson and featured an “El Polvo” Bobblehead Giveaway for the first 1,500 fans courtesy of AMR, with 5,019 in attendance overall. “El Polvo” is the alter ego of Roadrunners Mascot Dusty, meaning “The Dust.” The following night saw a season-high crowd of 5,923 on hand for the Roadrunners regular season finale at the Tucson Arena, as the team celebrated Fan Appreciation Night Presented by the Arizona Daily Star. All fans in attendance received a Team Poster courtesy of AMR, and Roadrunners players saluted the crowd and threw t-shirts as a final send-off before the start of the Calder Cup Playoffs on the road on Wednesday.

Roadrunners Reinforcements

Five players were assigned to the Tucson Roadrunners from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday after Arizona had wrapped up their season on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks. Forward Milos Kelemen and defenseman Michael Kesselring were among the five players assigned, as the pair skated in Tucson’s regular season finale on Saturday and combined for the first goal of the game. Kelemen returned to the Roadrunners on a two-game assist streak and extended it by sending a pass to Kesselring who buried it for his third point in his last two outings (1g 2a) with Tucson. Also back in the fold for the Roadrunners are forward Jan Jenik (13 points in his last 10 AHL games), defenseman Victor Soderstrom (21 points in 44 games with Tucson this year) and goaltender Ivan Prosvetov (career high 16 wins this season).

Season Statistics

With the 2022-2023 regular season in the books, the Roadrunners set a franchise record for the most total goals scored with 219 and the third most goals per-game in seven seasons at 3.04, as well as the most players to score 20 goals (three players) and to reach 50 points on the season (three players). Tucson also set a new franchise mark for the most penalty minutes in a season with 1271, the most by any team in the AHL since the 2016-2017 Syracuse Crunch racked up 1371 minutes in the box. In addition, three different players recorded at least 100 individual penalty minutes with the Roadrunners this season for another team record. Vlad Kolyachonok led Tucson in games played with 71, only missing one outing because he was in the National Hockey League with the Arizona Coyotes.

Did You Know?

The Roadrunners had a pair of professional debuts over their final weekend of the regular season, as forwards Micah Miller and Michael Lombardi each took the ice for Tucson for the first time since joining the team out of their respective college hockey programs. Miller was the first to debut, suiting up for both matchups of the two-game set against San Jose after being signed to a two-year AHL contract out of St. Cloud State University. Lombardi joined Miller for the series finale on Saturday night exactly a week after winning the NCAA National Championship with the Quinnipiac University Bobcats. Miller and Lombardi each played five full seasons of collegiate hockey and went head-to-head just once: in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Frozen Four Tournament. The former opponents combined on a third-period goal scored by Lombardi and assisted by Miller against the Barracuda on Saturday, tying the contest at 2-2.

Coyotes Close Out First Season At Mullett

The Arizona Coyotes hosted the Vancouver Canucks at Mullett Arena on Thursday, April 13, to close out their 82-game regular season. Three of Arizona’s top five scorers on the year were former Tucson Roadrunners, including breakout forward Matias Maccelli, who led all NHL rookies with 38 assists and finished second in points with 49 despite only playing in 64 games. Two of the five Coyotes to skate in all 82 games this year had taken the ice for the Roadrunners during the 2021-2022 season in defenseman J.J. Moser and forward Barrett Hayton. In all, ten players who appeared in the NHL with Arizona are on Tucson’s Playoff Roster entering the First Round: Victor Soderstrom (30 games), Milos Kelemen (14), Michael Kesselring (9), Mike Carcone (9), Ivan Prosvetov (7), Boko Imama (5), Nathan Smith (4), J.S. Dea (4), Vlad Kolyachonok (2), and Jan Jenik (2).

On The Air

Tucson Roadrunners Happy Hour airs every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on FOX Sports 1450AM and the iHeartRadio app, with a podcast version also available after each episode on the iHeartRadio app. This week, co-hosts Adrian Denny, Brett Fera and Kim Cota-Robles will be joined by Roadrunners Captain Adam Cracknell for a special Playoff Preview edition live from Coachella Valley. In addition, a new episode of the Tucson Roadrunners Insider Podcast released on Sunday, as “Voice of the Roadrunners” Adrian Denny and TucsonRoadrunners.com’s Jimmy Peebles heard from the AHL’s leading scorer Mike Carcone and previewed Tucson’s First Round Playoff matchup with the Firebirds. The podcast can be found on the iHeartRadio App or at TucsonRoadrunners.com/Podcast.