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Drive For Playoff Berth Falls Short

April 7, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) - Phoenix RoadRunners News Release


‘RUNNERS REWIND: Despite winning their home finale, the Phoenix RoadRunners were eliminated from contention for a second consecutive Kelly Cup Playoff berth on the final day of the regular season with a 4-3 loss at Las Vegas. The RoadRunners wrapped up their third season in the ECHL with a record of 24-39-9 and 57 points.

Tuesday, Curtis Fraser tallied a goal and added two assists and Aki Seitsonen collected a pair of tallies to lift the Las Vegas Wranglers to a 5-3 win over the Phoenix RoadRunners before 3,623 at US Airways Center.

Las Vegas (46-12-12) jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead. Seitsonen opened the scoring just 2:46 into the contest when he pounced on Ryan Donally's rebound and fired it behind RoadRunners goalie Taylor Dakers for a 1-0 edge. Jim Jorgensen extended the RoadRunners' deficit to two goals before the end of the period scoring a shorthanded marker at 16:57.

The Wranglers continued their attack in the second period with a pair of power play goals. Adam Cracknell re-directed Jason Krischuk's shot from the point over the shoulder of Dakers and into the net at 2:56 on the power play for a 3-0 advantage. Fraser then made it 4-0 scoring on his own rebound as he snapped the puck over Dakers and in at 9:27 of the period on the man-advantage. The RoadRunners (23-38-9) finally broke through Las Vegas goalie Kevin Lalande when Dusty Jamieson beat the rookie net-minder with a shot from the right-wing circle at 17:06 on the power play.

Phoenix responded early in the third period as Ryan Walsh collected a loose puck in front and snapped it into the back of the net 31 seconds into the frame to pull the RoadRunners to within two goals. Despite numerous power play chances, Phoenix eventually surrendered a fifth goal to the Wranglers as Seitsonen stripped a RoadRunners' defenseman of the puck at the blue line and shot it into the empty-net at 17:42. Mitch Carefoot capped the scoring with a power play goal at 19:24, but it was not enough.

Phoenix out-shot Las Vegas 44-25. Dakers stopped 20 shots but fell to 5-6-2 on the season. The RoadRunners went 2-13 on the power play while Las Vegas was 2-8 with the man-advantage.

Thursday, Peder Skinner and Gino Guyer each tallied a goal and added two assists and goalie Taylor Dakers stopped 29 shots to lift the Phoenix RoadRunners to a critical 4-1 win over the Bakersfield Condors before 4,647 at US Airways Center in the regular season home finale.

The RoadRunners (24-38-9) struck first when Skinner beat Bakersfield goalie Yutaka Fukufuji to the short side with a long shot from the left-wing boards at 17:07 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

Phoenix increased the margin to 3-0 after forty minutes with a pair of second period goals. Sean O'Connor stretched the lead to two when he received a pass from Guyer behind Fukufuji and tapped the puck into the net at 1:36 of the period for the tally. Guyer then jumped into the scoring act himself at 6:45 on the power play as he collected Rob Dmytruk's rebound and fired the puck back over Fukufuji and into the cage for a 3-0 advantage.

Bakersfield (25-37-9) broke into the scoring column early in the third period as Mark Derlago tipped a loose puck behind Dakers into the net at 2:50 on the power play to cut the Phoenix lead to 3-1. But the RoadRunners responded less than a minute later when Dusty Jamieson found newcomer Mathieu Melanson, and Melanson ripped a shot over Fukufuji's left shoulder and in at 3:36 to complete the scoring.

Bakersfield out-shot Phoenix 30-29. Dakers improved to 6-6-2 on the season. The RoadRunners went 1-4 on the power play while Bakersfield was 1-5 with the man-advantage.

Saturday, Jason Krischuk snapped a 3-3 tie with 4:06 remaining in regulation to lift the Las Vegas Wranglers to a 4-3 victory over the Phoenix RoadRunners in the regular season finale before 6,717 at the Orleans Arena.

The RoadRunners and Wranglers traded goals in the first period. Dusty Jamieson opened the scoring for Phoenix (24-39-9) at 15:13 when he received a perfect lead pass from Gerard Miller behind the Las Vegas defense and worked a backhand shot around Wranglers goalie Tyler Sims and into the net for an early 1-0 lead. The Wranglers (47-13-12) would promptly respond 1:15 seconds later as Peter Ferraro beat RoadRunners goalie Taylor Dakers with a shot over Dakers' left shoulder at 16:28 on the power play to tie the contest at 1-1.

Phoenix took a 2-1 lead early in the second period as Mathieu Melanson deflected Bryan Nathe's shot from the right point through Sims at 4:58. Marco Peluso would come up with the equalizer however at 17:06 of the second when he scooped up the loose puck in the slot and flipped it past Dakers to tie the score at 2-2 going into the second intermission.

Las Vegas grabbed their first lead of the night at 9:34 of the third period as Shawn Limpright potted his 12th goal of the season. The RoadRunners later countered with the equalizer at 13:08 when Ryan Walsh jammed a loose puck through Sims to tie the score at 3-3. Krischuk scored the game-winner at 15:54 beating Dakers with a long shot from the right point.

Las Vegas out-shot Phoenix 38-23. Dakers fell to 6-7-2 on the season. The RoadRunners went 0-3 on the power play while Las Vegas was 1-4 with the man-advantage.

OFFENSE GETS A BOOST: Despite missing out on the playoffs, the RoadRunners showed improvement in certain areas and finished with their best offensive numbers in three years. Phoenix produced an ECHL club-best 208 goals and averaged 2.89 goals per game compared to 2.79 last season and 2.17 goals per game in the inaugural season. The RoadRunners power play finished with their highest efficiency rate in three seasons converting at 17.3%, which was up from 16.5% last year and 13.5% in 2005-06. On the flip side, the penalty kill surrendered 16 fewer power play goals and closed out the regular season killing off 53 of their opponents' last 58 power plays dating back to March 6 to finish with an 83.2% efficiency rate for the year. Phoenix concluded the season with 14 home wins and 31 points, one fewer than their total of 32 from a year ago.

SISCA, O'CONNOR ENTER RECORD BOOKS: Forwards Daniel Sisca and Sean O'Connor each inscribed their names in the RoadRunners' ECHL record books this season. Sisca set club records with 42 assists and 60 points breaking Justin Aikins' marks of 30 assists and 57 points from the 2006-07 campaign. Meanwhile, O'Connor tied Aikins' single season goals record with 27 tallies while setting personal bests in goals, assists (17), points (44), and games played (62). Along with O'Connor, defensemen Taylor Christie and Ian Turner each recorded new career-highs in point totals, while defenseman Reagan Rome set a new personal best for goals in a single season. Rookie center Peder Skinner was the lone player to skate in all 72 games, and he joins inaugural captain Dean Tiltgen as the only two "Iron Men" in RoadRunners' ECHL history.

GUYER GETS HIS CHANCE: After injuries delayed the start of his professional career last season, rookie center Gino Guyer was one of the RoadRunners' top performers following his acquisition from Alaska on Dec. 14. Guyer finished sixth on the club in scoring after totaling 13 goals, 26 assists, and 39 points in only 49 games with Phoenix. Prior to arriving in the Valley of the Sun, Guyer had only three goals and five assists in 21 games. The Coleraine, Minn. native also recorded three goals and 11 points in eight games against his former club, the Aces.

NEWS & NOTES: Center Cam Paddock re-signed with the RoadRunners as a free agent in the off-season, but never played in one game with the club after agreeing to a contract with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League in September. Paddock currently has 10 goals, 22 points, and 92 penalty minutes in 74 games with the Rampage...Along with Paddock, forward Daniel Sisca, defensemen Chris Murray and Gerard Miller, and goalies Cody Rudkowsky and Dave McKee were each recalled to the AHL at one point during the season and appeared in 27 total games...Rookie forward Mathieu Melanson scored two goals in two games with the RoadRunners to finish with 30 goals and 60 points in 54 games...Phoenix finished with record of 19-8-7 when scoring first and 11-7-9 in one-goal games.

UP NEXT: The RoadRunners return to the ice at US Airways Center in October for their fourth season of ECHL hockey. Keep up with everything that's happening during the off-season from player signings to community appearances and the release of the 2008-09 schedule by logging on to www.phxroadrunners.com. Information on season tickets, half-season packages, and flex plans for the 2008-09 season of Phoenix RoadRunners Hockey are available by calling (602) 462-GOAL. Have a safe and happy summer!

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ECHL Stories from April 7, 2008

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