Game #57 Preview: Tucson vs. Iowa
Game #57 - Tucson (27-22-5-2) vs. Iowa (33-18-7-5)
7:05 PM MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #10 Terry Koharski, #6 Carter Sandlak
Linesmen: #85 Steve Walsh, #0 Patrick Stuber
The Roadrunners dip back into Central Division play tonight in hosting the Iowa Wild at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM. It marks the first of four scheduled meetings between the teams this season.
Tucson enters the night an even 6-6-0-0 against clubs from the Central this year.
Having won both games played in Stockton over the weekend, the Roadrunners are riding consecutive victories for the first time since January 23, when they topped the Texas Stars by a 4-0 final at Tucson Arena, extending their win streak, at the time, to three games.
That win over Texas, 18 games and 55 days ago, was the Roadrunners' last victory on home ice. They have dropped each of their last eight games played at Tucson Arena (0-7-1-0).
The Roadrunners begin a six-game home stand tonight, matching their longest of the season, when they also served as hosts on six consecutive occasions from January 21 - February 2.
Iowa pulls into Southern Arizona having won each of its last two games, and has earned points in six of its last seven overall, going 5-1-1-0 over that stretch.
At evening's outset, the Roadrunners are nine points out of the Pacific Division playoff picture, but can inch to within seven with a win tonight.
The third-place San Diego Gulls are the only other team from the grouping in action tonight. They are on the road against the Manitoba Moose at Bell MTS Place; that game is slated to start at 6:00 PM PST.
THREE THINGS PEDERSON GOING WILD: Lane Pederson continued his fantastic sophomore campaign with five points (2G, 3A) over the weekend in the Roadrunners' two wins against the Stockton Heat, credited with the winning goals in both contests. Pederson enters the night with a team-high 16 goals and 36 points overall. He buried the dagger in the previous meeting with Iowa, scoring with 37 seconds left on March 31 of last season to lift Tucson to a 4-3 win, a win that clinched the Roadrunners' first Calder Cup playoff berth in franchise history.
BUNTING BREAKS OUT: Michael Bunting is coming off his second two-goal game of the season on Saturday night, netting the Roadrunners' second and fifth goals in the team's 5-2 win at Stockton. The 23-year-old forward now has goals in three straight games, one game shy of matching his longest such streak of the campaign, when he scored in four consecutive contests from January 18-23.
HOME STRETCH: The Roadrunners will play eight of their final 12 regular season games at home, a big chunk of which will take place during the six-game-in-12-day home stand that begins tonight. The team is 13-12-1-0 at Tucson Arena this year, where they've earned 27 of their 61 standings points. Iowa brings a 12-13-3-4 road record into tonight's contest.
NUMBER TO KNOW ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-SEVEN: The Roadrunners are dead even in goals for and goals against this season, having scored 167 goals and having allowed 167 goals. They are 22nd in GF/Game (2.98) and 13th in GA/Game (2.98).
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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