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 Tucson Roadrunners

Condors Take Series Opener 3-2

February 24, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Tucson Roadrunners News Release

Tucson Roadrunners celebrate win
Tucson Roadrunners celebrate win
(Tucson Roadrunners, Credit: Kate Dibildox, Tucson Roadrunners)

TUCSON, AZ - The Bakersfield Condors were a nightmare dressed like a daydream as they defeated the Tucson Roadrunners 3-2 on Swiftie Night as the Roadrunners fall to 29-16-2-1 on the year from the Tucson Arena.

If was Swiftie Night and Dusty's Birthday at the Tucson Arena on Friday night, but the birthday wishes and high-pitched pop tune lyrics ringing through the Tucson Arena would not be enough to jolt the Roadrunners into victory. The first period was a back-and-forth affair between the two Pacific Division teams, with Bakersfield outshooting Tucson 11-10 in the frame. Matthew Villalta, recently recalled from the Arizona Coyotes, was perfect in the period making 11 saves and ending the night with 18.

In the second, it was Bakersfield that would come out singing, like a Taylor Swift concert, and score two goals in the first 12:18 of the period. An interference minor on Tucson in the final minute of the second period would put the Roadrunners in jeopardy of going down three. Instead, it would be defenseman Vlad Kolyachonok scoring a shorthanded goal and igniting the crowd into cheers and Taylor Swift friendship bracelets flying around the Tucson Arena. Kolyachonok was assisted by John Leonard and Austin Poganski on the play.

The one-goal deficit for Tucson was short lived as Bakersfield would come out in the final period and score a power-play goal to take a 3-1 lead. Later in the frame, Bakersfield would rip a shot that hit the crossbar and rimmed out. Play would continue, but following the first whistle Bakersfield would challenge the call of no goal. The call would stand after review, and by rule, Bakersfield would take a delay of game penalty. This power-play opportunity for the Roadrunners would lead to Vlad Kolyachonok scoring his second goal of the evening and fourth goal of the season. Kolyachonok was assisted by Jan Jenik and Victor Soderstrom on the play. A Bakersfield penalty in the final minute, and Tucson pulling Matthew Villalta would give the Roadrunners a 6-on-4 advantage and a few good looks to tie the game late. Unfortunately, they couldn't bury the puck and Bakersfield would hold on to the 3-2 victory.

"I thought we had some good points in that game and our boys stayed resilient. Give credit to our guys who fought until the end. We could have shot the puck more and then we let them off of the hook a little bit. We have to be better with our puck decisions around the hash and get a deeper entry," said Head Coach Steve Potvin following Tucson's 3-2 loss on Friday night.

Images from this story

Tucson Roadrunners celebrate win
Tucson Roadrunners celebrate win

(Kate Dibildox, Tucson Roadrunners)

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