Phoenix Concludes Four-Year Tenure as a Member of the ECHL
'RUNNERS REWIND: The Phoenix RoadRunners closed out their 2008-09 regular season last week in Idaho after being eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday. The RoadRunners finish the year with a record of 30-37-5 and 65 points, their best mark and overall point total in four seasons of ECHL play.
Tuesday, Bryan McGregor scored a goal and added an assist and a three-goal first period proved to be the difference as the Idaho Steelheads defeated the Phoenix RoadRunners 3-2 and eliminated them from playoff consideration before 3,134 fans at Qwest Arena.
A five-goal first period combined between the two clubs ended with Idaho on top 3-2 going into the first intermission, and proved to be the only scoring in the hockey game. The Steelheads (42-23-4) opened the scoring just 48 seconds into the contest when Brandon Svendsen received credit for a goal from a McGregor shot that rang off the post, kicked off RoadRunners' goalie Kyle Jones, and trickled back into the net. Phoenix (29-35-5) netted the equalizer at 7:26 on the power play as David Rutherford scored the first of his two goals in the period re-directing Jim Jorgensen's shot past Idaho goalie Matt Climie to tie the contest at 1-1. The Steelheads would promptly score the next two goals as Matt Cook netted the first tally of his pro career re-directing a shot from the point through Jones and in at 14:22, and then McGregor scooped up a loose puck in the slot with Jones down and out and snapped it into the cage at 17:12 giving Idaho a 3-1 lead. But the RoadRunners' would have the period's final say when Rutherford potted his second goal off a face-off win by P.J. Corsi at 19:20 of the period.
The RoadRunners had two five-on-three power plays in the second period but failed to score on either, which proved to be costly in the end.
Idaho out-shot Phoenix 41-24. Jones stopped 38 shots but fell to 8-15-2 on the season with the loss. The RoadRunners went 1-6 on the power play while Idaho was 0-4 with the man-advantage.
Wednesday, the Idaho Steelheads set a season-high with six power play goals and Bryan McGregor netted a hat-trick and added three assists to defeat the Phoenix RoadRunners 6-3 before 3,378 at Qwest Arena.
The RoadRunners (29-36-5) were aggressive early scoring a pair of goals 1:26 seconds apart in the first period to actually take a 2-0 lead in this game. Mark O'Leary opened the scoring with his eighth goal of the year at 5:47 picking up the loose puck in front of the net and jamming it past Idaho goalie Rejean Beauchemin for a 1-0 lead. David Rutherford extended that lead to two when he received a cross-ice pass from P.J. Corsi at the top of the crease and beat a sprawling Beauchemin at 7:13 of the period. But the Steelheads responded with a pair of power play goals 42 seconds apart to tie the score at 2-2 going into the first intermission. Bryan McGregor tallied his team-leading 32nd goal of the year at 18:27 on the man-advantage, followed by a one-time slap shot from Darrell Hay at the right point through RoadRunners' goalie Chris Beckford-Tseu at 19:09 on the power play to even the contest.
McGregor broke the tie at 16:03 of the second period with his second goal of the game and second on the power play as he beat Beckford-Tseu to the glove side and in to give the Steelheads a 3-2 advantage going into the third.
Early penalty trouble doomed the RoadRunners in the third period as Marty Flichel and Bryan McGregor netted five-on-three power play goals at 17 seconds and 1:51 respectively to increase the Steelheads lead to three goals. Tyler Shelast scored the sixth power play goal of the evening for Idaho at 6:58. Chase Trull capped the scoring with his fifth goal of the year at 16:11.
Idaho out-shot Phoenix 56-27. Beckford-Tseu stopped 50 shots but fell to 2-7-2 on the season with the loss. The RoadRunners went 0-2 on the power play while Idaho was 6-11 with the man-advantage.
Friday, Mitch Carefoot snapped a tied contest with a power play goal with 5:24 remaining in regulation and Mark O'Leary scored a pair of goals to lift the Phoenix RoadRunners to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Idaho Steelheads before 4,271 at Qwest Arena.
Idaho (43-24-4) got on the scoreboard first beating the game clock in the closing seconds of the opening period when Bryan McGregor's shot trickled through the pads of RoadRunners' goalie Kyle Jones and in with 0.4 seconds on the clock for a 1-0 lead.
The RoadRunners (30-36-5) netted the equalizer at 4:18 of the second period with Idaho on the power play to tie the score at 1-1. T.J. Campbell tapped the puck across the slot to O'Leary who snapped it through the pads of Steelheads' goalie Kurtis Mucha for a shorthanded tally. But the Steelheads would take a 2-1 lead before the end of the period as Matt McKnight punched home a McGregor rebound at 10:25 on the power play.
O'Leary potted his second goal of the game at 6:18 of the third off a broken play when the puck bounced out to him in the slot and he snapped the puck over Mucha's shoulder off the cross-bar and into the net to tie the score at 2-2. Carefoot netted the game-winner on the RoadRunners' seventh power play of the night when he fired home a one-timer past Mucha off a centering feed from Chase Trull in the right-wing corner. Idaho pulled Mucha for the extra attacker, but the Steelheads could not muster the equalizer.
Idaho out-shot Phoenix 37-29. Jones stopped 35 shots to improve to 9-15-2 on the season. The RoadRunners went 1-8 on the power play while Idaho was 1-7 with the man-advantage.
Saturday, four players recorded multiple point games led by three goals and three assists from Bryan McGregor and a career-high five assists from Brandon Svendsen as the Idaho Steelheads defeated the Phoenix RoadRunners 8-2 before 4,372 at Qwest Arena in the 2008-09 ECHL regular season finale.
The Steelheads (44-24-4) jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead in the opening four minutes with a pair of goals 57 seconds apart. Dan Welch opened the scoring with a power play goal at 2:21 banging home McGregor's rebound past RoadRunners' goalie Kyle Jones along the ice for a 1-0 lead. McGregor extended the Idaho lead to two just seconds later when he snapped a shot from the right-wing circle over the glove of Jones and into the back of the net at 3:18.
The Steelheads blew the game open with a four-goal second period. McGregor netted his second of the game scoring on the power play just 38 seconds into the period to give Idaho a 3-0 lead. Less than three minutes later, Brent Shepheard scored his 10th goal of the season at 3:03 of the period to increase the Steelheads lead to four goals and chase Jones from the game. Phoenix (30-37-5) finally got on the scoreboard at 4:19 with a power play goal as James McEwan re-directed Matt Burke's shot from the right point through the pads of Idaho goalie Rejean Beauchemin and into the net to cut the deficit to 4-1. But the Steelheads would get an even-strength goal from Luke Gazdic at 13:03 and a power play goal from Kory Scoran at 16:29 to build their lead back to five at 6-1. Phoenix's P.J. Corsi tacked one on before the period's end at 19:13 to make it a 6-2 game after two periods.
McGregor completed his second hat-trick in his last three games at 10:17 of the third period and Nick Sirota scored his first professional goal at 16:58 of the third to complete the scoring for Idaho.
Idaho out-shot Phoenix 45-23. Jones stopped 11 shots as he suffered the loss to finish the year with a record of 9-16-2. The RoadRunners went 1-5 on the power play while Idaho was 3-5 with the man-advantage.
RECORD SETTING YEAR: Along with finishing with their first 30-win and 60-plus points season in club history, the 2008-09 RoadRunners set numerous other team records, including their best defensive season ever. Phoenix allowed a record-low 246 goals, which translated to a 3.42 goals against average and ranked tied for 15th overall in the ECHL, also the RoadRunners best finish ranking-wise in overall team defense. Phoenix also surrendered a record-low 71 power play goals, and thus finished with their highest penalty kill efficiency in club history at 83.3%. Much of the defensive success began with the play of the RoadRunners' goalies, including Craig Kowalski who set single season team records in wins (17), goals against average (2.90), and save percentage (.918). The RoadRunners also set club records in shorthanded goals (14) and come-from-behind wins in the third period (five).
ALL-TIME ROADRUNNERS' LEADERS: Center Daniel Sisca finished as the RoadRunners' all-time leading scorer in ECHL history with 32 goals, 73 assists, and 105 points. Sisca also is the club's single season assist leader with 42, which he achieved back in 2007-08. Captain Mitch Carefoot finished as the club's all-time leader in games played with 142 after becoming the only RoadRunners' skater in 2008-09 and just the third in team history to play in all 72 games joining Dean Tiltgen (2005-06) and Peder Skinner (2007-08). Justin Aikins (2006-07) and Sean O'Connor (2007-08) finished tied for the single season goal record with 27 tallies each. Brent Henley (2005-06) finished as the club's all-time leader in penalty minutes with 271.
NEWS & NOTES: The RoadRunners finished with an all-time record of 101-163-24 in ECHL play and 56-77-10 in four seasons at US Airways Center...148 players donned a RoadRunners' sweater between October 21, 2005 and April 4, 2009. Forward Chase Trull (2005-06, 2008-09) and defenseman Taylor Christie (2005-06, 2007-08) were the only two players to enjoy two separate stints with the club...10 players spent time with both the RoadRunners and their AHL affiliate Worcester in 2008-09 (Forwards Dan DaSilva, Andrew Desjardins, P.J. Fenton, Matt Fornataro, Matt Jones, James McEwan, and Ashton Rome; defenseman Michael Wilson; and goalies Gerald Coleman and Kyle Jones). Along with defensemen Dane Crowley (Houston), Brett Peterson (Grand Rapids), and Jeremy Swanson (Toronto), and goalies Craig Kowalski (Norfolk) and Chris Beckford-Tseu (Rochester), a record 15 RoadRunners spent time this season in the American Hockey League.
THANK YOU! The RoadRunners would like to thank their fans, season ticket holders, and corporate partners for a wonderful four years of hockey in the Valley of the Sun. For more information, contact the Phoenix RoadRunners Hockey Club at (602) 462-GOAL.
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