Roadrunners Come Close But Suffer Tough To Swallow Defeat In San Diego
Despite beginning the game with one of their best periods of the season and generating the necessary offense, penalties proved costly as the Roadrunners took a 5-3 defeat at Pechanga Arena in San Diego Friday night.
Tucson came out of the gates ablaze, taking the games opening five shots on goal and establishing a physical presence. The momentum translated into a nice, grindy, fourth line shift from Tyler Steenbergen, Blake Speers and Jon Martin, concluding with a wraparound attempt by Speers creating a rebound that was put back home by Martin. For Martin, it was his 12th of the season, establishing a new career-high.
Less than three minutes after the Roadrunners opened the scoring, the team's first power play of the night only needed nine seconds to double that advantage. Beau Bennett won the faceoff to begin the special teams chance, igniting an "around the horn" of Andy Miele, Kyle Capobianco and Brayden Burke, where Burke would then place a seeing-eye feed back to Miele for a wide-open slam dunk to make it 2-0.
That would wrap up the first period scoring and one of the best Roadrunners period to date, however, as good as the team's opening period was, San Diego one-upped it in the second.
Within a span of 7:22, the home side went from trailing by a pair to in the lead courtesy of a well-executed offensive zone play, a power play goal and a four-on-four strike.
Thus needing to come from behind, Tucson's start to their third period looked similar to that of their first, resulting in an equalizer from Michael Bunting just 54 seconds in. Tyler Steenbergen, who registered his third game with multiple points against the Gulls already this season, set up Bunting, who fit a wrist shot by his defender and a screened Anthony Stolarz.
The evened contest would last for seven-plus minutes before another visiting team penalty allowed former Roadrunner Chris Mueller to stuff home a power play bid, putting San Diego back in command for good. Despite a push with the extra attacker, an empty net goal would seal the deal for the Gulls in 5-3 fashion.
Tucson won the shots battle in each period, finishing 40-25 in total and also rang the post on three occasions, but Prosvetov would take the defeat, allowing the four goals on 20 shots.
The team will now bus to Ontario tonight and take on the Reign at 7 p.m. MT Saturday.
THEY SAID IT
"Some things were good, but it's been repeated now where we're playing good, then we go into a lull and that's what cost us again tonight. If you have a two-goal lead, you can't give it up, so moving into tomorrow we need to play more solid defense and good things will happen."
Tyler Steenbergen understanding the situation but also knowing the team's efforts have them close in each game. Good things are coming once again.
DON'T OVERLOOK IT
Tucson was the better team in the match, bar none. The team created on the offensive side of things, Prosvetov was strong throughout and San Diego only totaled 25 chances over 60 minutes.
The difference in tonight's game was really two of San Diego's four power play chances and some unfortunate luck from the posts beside Stolarz. Nine times out of ten if the Roadrunners bring this effort, they win.
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