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NEWS & STATS

Tucson continues its tremendous start with 2-1 win over Bakersfield

By: Alexander Kinkopf
 
 
A second period surge that saw the Roadrunners net a pair of goals in a 3:45 span proved to be enough to lead the team to its third consecutive win, remaining perfect on the season by topping the Bakersfield Condors by a 2-1 count Saturday night at Rabobank Arena.
 
Trudging through overnight travel to play the second half of their back-to-back set, the Roadrunners struggled to find an upper-hand on the Condors in the opening frame, Bakersfield outshooting Tucson by an 11-6 margin through the opening 20 minutes, Cameron Hebig giving the home team a 1-0 lead 2:32 left in the first period.
 
“We’ve definitely battled through some adversity, it’s been a lot of travel for us this weekend,” Hudson Fasching said postgame. “[Bakersfield] was fresh, they came out with a big push in the first, then we came out in the second with some good energy, and I think that was the big turning point.”
 
Clawing back into contention with hard work and relentless effort, the Roadrunners struck to tie the game when Fasching buried his first goal with the team with 3:46 remaining in the middle frame.
 
Dakota Mermis, clogging a Bakersfield clearing attempt in the Condors’ zone, received support from Matteo Gennaro, who found Fasching wide open in the high slot. Fasching, with a wrist-shot through traffic, beat Bakersfield’s Al Montoya to knot the score.
 
 
Just over three minutes later, while lining up for an offensive zone draw with four seconds left on the clock in the second period, Lane Pederson won the puck back to Adam Helewka, who with a quick release, beat Montoya with a shot to the far side, the puck crossing the line with one-tenth of a second left in the board.
 
 
Helewka's tally, his third of the season, gave the Roadrunners their first lead of the night.
 
“It was a great job by [Pederson] there to win the draw and then everything just kind of fell into place,” Helewka said in description of his eventual game-winning marker. “I found the lane and just ripped it.”
 
In the third, and led by Adin Hill’s unwavering focus, the Roadrunners maintained their 2-1 lead, halting the Condors’ offense to secure victory. Hill finished the night with 25 saves to earn his second win of the season.
 
“A lot of key saves by [Hill] at the end there, our defensemen stepped up and blocked a lot of shots coming down near the end,” Fasching added. “I think we kind of just pulled together as a team and really hunkered down during the stretch, which was key.”
 
The Roadrunners, now 3-0-0-0 on the season, are among six of the AHL’s 31 teams to be without a loss of any kind. The others are Charlotte, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Iowa.
 
Through three games, 16 of the Roadrunners’ 20 skaters have found the score sheet.
 
Dating back to December 3, 2016, the Roadrunners have won five-straight games against Bakersfield at Rabobank Arena. They are now 7-1-1-0 all-time at the Condors’ home rink.
 
The team completes its three-game California road trip Monday night when it takes on the San Jose Barracuda at the SAP Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:00 PM PST.
 
 
*Photos courtesy: Bakersfield Condors