Game 10 Preview: Tucson at Stockton
Tucson (6-3-1-0) at Stockton 7-1-0-1)
7 PM MST, Tucson Arena - Tucson, AZ
LISTEN LIVE Fox Sports 1450, iHeart Radio app
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Roadrunners Current Roster: Click here
Referees: Stephen Hiff (#56), Guillaume Labonte (#35)
Linesmen: Alexander Ledovsky (#21), Steven Walsh (#85)
November begins where October left off for the Tucson Roadrunners.
A weekend in California for the crew begins this evening against division-leading Stockton, who enters with seven wins and a Western Conference-best 36 goals scored.
The Roadrunners enter with a chip on their shoulders after being swept in a midweek set by the Chicago Wolves Tuesday and Wednesday at Tucson Arena and the Heat turn around less than 24 hours after picking up a 3-2 shootout victory over Tucson's Sunday opponent, the San Jose Barracuda.
It's early in the season but fresh legs favor that of Tucson going in.
1) There was no pleasure to be found post-game Wednesday regarding the offensive performance the Roadrunners put together in their 3-0 defeat to Chicago. Blanked on home ice for the first time since Wednesday, March 20 when the Iowa Wild held them scoreless, the Roadrunners outshot their opponent for the eighth time in nine games but Garret Sparks was up to each task in the shutout effort. Head Coach Jay Varady's assessment was that his team hasn't been creating enough at five-on-five. Tucson's outscored their opponents 16-6 during that situation in the first seven games. Tucson didn't score a five-on-five goal against Chicago, nor did they allow one in the Chicago series.
2) Another adjustment the Head Coach referenced following both Tuesday and Wednesday's losses was the team's inability to get to the front of the net and create opportunities in "dirty areas". The only goal scored against Chicago in two games was a Tyler Steenbergen redirection from right out in front of Oscar Dansk. If the Roadrunners are able to amend this for tonight and get to those spots, captain Michael Chaput is someone who comes to mind as having early season success there. #26's first three goals of the season came in all nearly identical fashion, crashing the front of the net and burying high. During his multigoal game against Iowa, again, both came from within just feet of the blue paint. Perhaps he'll be a player to keep an eye on tonight.
3) The lack of recent offense has cast a dark cloud over the stunning success of the team's defense and goaltending thus far this year. Allowing just 19 goals in nine games, Tucson ranks second in the entire league with that statistic. Whether it's been Hill, Kallgren, Prosvetov, or even Raanta in net, the club has kept opponents to the outside and held some of the highest scoring team's in the league (Iowa, Ontario and San Antonio) to limited numbers. With Stockton entering tonight averaging four goals per game, the back end will have to hold it down once again.
What's The Word?
Roadrunners forward Jeremy Gregoire on the team's first month...
"Our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs. We still have a lot of adjustments we need to make, but I think it's been a good start for us."
Roadrunners forward Jeremy Gregoire on the Chicago series...
"They have a good team. They were on a hot streak and we were too. We didn't pull it off but we've regrouped and now it's time to have a good California trip."
Roadrunners forward Jeremy Gregoire on facing quality opponents thus far this season...
"There's no free games at the American League level where the systems and the players are all similar [to that of NHL clubs]. It's a fun league to play in but it's definitely hard."
Number to Know
16. 16 of the Roadrunners 32 shots on Wednesday came from the six defenseman in the lineup. Five forwards, notably Lane Pederson and Brayden Burke, were held without a single shot.
We're Doing It Live
Catch tonight's active LIVE on AHLTV or join Roadrunners play-by-play voice Adrian Denny on Fox Sports 1450 AM and iHeart Radio as he calls the game from the Roadrunners' flagship radio station, where coverage begins at 5:45 PM.
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