By: Alex Kinkopf
December 31, 2017 9:13 PM
If you’re going to end it, end it on good terms.
They’re sailing into 2018 on a high note, and in first place.
The Roadrunners capped off their California road trip in downing the Ontario Reign by a 2-1 score Sunday evening at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
They finished the trek away from Tucson with a perfect 3-0-0-0 record, and are now an impressive 8-2-1-1 in opposing buildings this season.
Adin Hill got the call for his 13th start, and he continued his stretch of downright stellar play, stopping 25 of the 26 shots fired his way, his shutout bid spoiled with only 1:57 left to play in regulation.
Hill received early offensive support in the form of a Mike Sislo goal at the 14-minute mark of the first period.
In receiving a cross-ice pass from Dakota Mermis atop Ontario’s zone while the team worked in its first power play of the evening, Sislo rifled a one-timed shot past Ontario’s Jack Campbell to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead.
For Sislo, it was his 10th goal of the season; he became the third Roadrunners player to reach double-digits in that department.
With 8:25 left to play in the second, Nick Merkley struck for his team-leading 15th goal of the season when he fired a shot through traffic from above the right circle to give the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead.
Tye McGinn, with an assist on Merkley’s goal, extended his point streak to three games. He has four assists during that span.
In the late stages of regulation, Ontario’s Philippe Maillet got the Reign on the board, cutting the Roadrunners’ lead to one with 1:57 to play.
The Roadrunners would hold on to secure a 2-1 victory, and are now 3-1-0-0 in four games against the Reign this season.
Adin Hill earned his seventh win; he has allowed just a combined five goals in his past four starts, and his 2.19 GAA is fourth-best among all AHL goaltenders.
Now with a 16-9-2-1 record, which calculates in at a .625 win percentage, the Roadrunners jump back up to first place in the Pacific Division.
Head Coach Mike Van Ryn will coach the Pacific Division at the 2018 AHL All Star Classic in Utica, New York with the team finishing atop its grouping to complete the 2017 calendar year.
The team now returns for a two-game home stand, which begins Friday night when they host the Ontario Reign at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.