Game #12 Preview: Tucson vs. San Jose
Game #12 - Tucson (7-3-0-1) vs. San Jose (9-1-0-1)
7:05 PM PST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #47 Michael Markovic, #59 Brett Roeland
Linesmen: #61 James Tobias, #20 Brent Hooks
In what will undoubtedly be one of the bigger challenges faced thus far this year, the Roadrunners get set to open a two-game weekend series against the San Jose Barracuda, tonight's meeting the second of eight scheduled between the clubs this season.
The Roadrunners are one of only two teams to earn a standings point against the Barracuda so far, who enter the night as the AHL's top Western Conference team and second overall. On October 15 at SAP Center, the Roadrunners, who kept it dangerously close throughout, fell by a 3-2 score in a game that extended into overtime and a six-round shootout.
Former Barracuda Adam Helewka scored in his return to San Jose after spending two-plus years with the organization.
Kyle Wood returns to Tucson for the first time tonight following the June 14 trade that sent him to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Helewka. The Roadrunners are hoping for no homecoming goal from Wood, who played in 117 games with Tucson, totaling 62 points (17G, 45A).
"They're a good team, their forwards move well," Michael Bunting said of the Barracuda after the pregame skate. "We can't give them a lot of chances or we're going to be playing behind them, and that's not something we want to do."
The Barracuda have outscored opponents by an absolutely ridiculous combined 43-21 margin this year and are one of only three teams to have only one regulation loss.
THREE THINGS FOUR SCORE: The Roadrunners are a perfect 5-0-0-0 this season when scoring at least four goals during a given game. They enter the night ranked 11th in the AHL in scoring, averaging 3.73 goals per game. The Barracuda, on the other hand, are allowing their opponents an average of 1.91 goals per game, by far and away the stingiest median in the entire league.
MADSEN'S THE MAN: Merrick Madsen is presumed, though not confirmed, to get the call again tonight, following up his first AHL start on Wednesday in which he earned his first AHL win, stopping 19 of the 22 shots he faced in the Roadrunners' 6-3 victory over the San Diego Gulls. "It's nice to play with a goalie that gives you the calmness that he did," Mario Kempe said of the rookie after Wednesday's win.
G FOR THE W: Seven of Conor Garland's last eight goals scored have been game-winners, dating back to March 17 of last season. With his game-winning goal Wednesday night, he now has three of the year - which ranks him third among all AHL players in that category. He buried the game-winner during San Jose's last regular season series visit on March 20, 2017.
NUMBER TO KNOW ONE-THOUSAND: That is the Barracuda's points percentage on the road this season, absolutely perfect. San Jose is 5-0-0-0 away from the SAP Center, calculating in at - you guessed it - a 1.000 pts %. They've outscored their hosts by a 24-9 margin.
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WE'RE DOING IT LIVE Catch tonight's action LIVE on AHLTV or join Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson as he calls the game from the Roadrunners' flagship radio station, where coverage begins at 6:50 PM.
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American Hockey League Stories from November 9, 2018
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