Game 34 Preview: Tucson at Colorado
Game #34 - Tucson (25-7-1-0) at Colorado (18-10-3-1)
7 PM MST, Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, CO
LISTEN LIVE Fox Sports 1450, iHeart Radio app
WATCH LIVE AHL TV
Roadrunners Current Roster: Click here
Referees: Alex Garon (#64), Jonathon Sitarski (#23)
Linesmen: Jonathan Deschamps (#84), Collin Besch (#58)
Referees: Jeremy Tufts (#78), Tyson Stewart (#85)
Linesmen: Erik Contino (#53), Josh Pergande (#51)
The club's first road game since Saturday, December 15 takes them to "The Ranch" in northern Colorado, where they'll meet the scalding AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche tonight.
Still sitting atop the league with their 25 wins, Tucson will face the task of attempting to knock the Eagles off of their current 11-game point streak, which began on December 7 immediately following a midweek set of loses at Tucson Arena. It could be a "dose of their own medicine" to Colorado though, who knocked the Roadrunners off of their eight-game winning streak following the holiday break.
1) The team got a point last Saturday against the San Jose Barracuda in a strange game, however, as a team that boasts the most wins the American Hockey League (25), falling to a club that has the fewest (12), doesn't sit well. For the first time in nearly a month the team had a full week of practice at Tucson Arena, more of which we will get to later, and the group will look to get back to their winning ways. Of course, the hot topic of the week is goaltending, another thing we'll get to shortly, and for all intents and purposes, it seems as if Brandon Halverson is in line to make his first start as a member of the Tucson roster. No matter who gets the nod tonight, making a start behind a defensive unit that has allowed a league-low 84 goals has to be an appealing situation.
2) As mentioned, the Eagles are the hottest team in the league at the moment when it comes to collecting points. So what's been going right for them as a part of it? Well, it seems a little bit of everything. They've won games 10-4 and they've won games 1-0. An integral part of their makeup though is excellent play from their blue line. Defenseman Jacob MacDonald leads their team in scoring with 23 points in 32 games. Former Tucson Roadrunner and Arizona Coyote Kevin Connauton is behind him with 19 points in 26 games, just a few week s removed from AHL/CCM Player of the Week Honors. We could make notes of all six regular defenseman, however, the gist is they're a very, very deep group that not only provides offense but a gruff style of play as well.
3) Signed on December 26 on a professional tryout (PTO) from Norfolk, Brandon Halverson entered last Saturday's game against San Jose in relief for the final 20+ minutes after Ivan Prosvetov was pulled from the game for precautionary reasons, which were later revealed to be due to an injury to Antti Raanta with the Coyotes. As the only active goalie on the Roadrunners roster for the week of practice, the vibe is that Halverson was able to feel the starter's reps and use the time to get up to AHL game speed once again. Unique to previous PTO situations, Halverson isn't long removed from being a regular starter though, as he concluded the majority of the 2018-19 home stretch as the starting goaltender for the Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers (hence the mask).
What's The Word?
Roadrunners Assistant Coach Steve Potvin on the importance of a full week of practice at Tucson Arena...
"Sometimes when you're just playing you're not always practicing your details, you're just reviewing it on tape. Sometimes it's nice to get the feel and see where the pressure is. We need to really understand our trigger points as opposed to when we just see it on film. When you only have one day of practice, it's hard to get everything crunched in. It's been great to be able to work on our practices, work on our skills and our details in our systems."
Roadrunners Assistant Coach Steve Potvin on what the team's focus was this week...
"The message was to try and regroup. We'd been ailing a bit and a couple of our guys had been sick going into these practices. We've been trying to recharge as best we can and once we did hit the ice, it was trying to build our energy. We looked at our details and what we thought was going to help us against Colorado."
Roadrunners Assistant Coach Steve Potvin on what it will take to be successful tonight...
"They're a team that likes to play along the boards. They like to play hard and strong, so it's going to be on us to win our battles and to win our races to the net. We'll have to try to beat their goaltender in the blue paint and they're a team that's going to try and keep us to the outside. Trying to get on the inside is going to be the key, so we're going to have to come with determination."
Number to Know
8. Roadrunners forward Michael Bunting currently holds a share of the second-longest active point streak in the AHL with at least one goal or assist in the team's eight most recent games. Totaling two goals and 12 assists over that span, the fourth-year Roadrunner also has a league-high 30 assists.
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 6:45 PM.
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