Tucson continues its San Diego dominance; Madsen earns first win
By: Alexander Kinkopf
November 07, 2018 9:45 PM
The Roadrunners got into their home stand in victorious fashion Wednesday night, topping the San Diego Gulls by a 6-3 count at Tucson Arena, beating their division rival for the seventh straight time.
Merrick Madsen, making his first-career AHL start, earned the win, stopping 19 of the 22 shots he faced.
Five different players scored for the Roadrunners, 10 registered at least one point.
“I think we played well 90% of the game,” Mario Kempe said afterward. “We let them back into it a little bit near the end there, but with some good offensive plays there we got the win, so that was good.”
After a scoreless first period, the Roadrunners’ offense came alive in the second, the team netting three goals in the middle frame to take a healthy lead into the third.
Mario Kempe buried the first of his two goals of the night, giving the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the second when he walked in to beat San Diego’s Jared Coreau with a wrist shot high to the blocker side.
In the late stages of the second, the Roadrunners potted a pair of goals in a 26-second span, the first coming off the stick of Brayden Burke with 3:27 to play in the period, his second tally in as many games.
On the ensuing shift, David Ullstrom drove to the net to deposit his fourth goal of the year, giving the Roadrunners a 3-0 lead.
Early in the third, the Gulls got on the board, Giovanni Fiore spoiling Merrick Madsen’s shutout bid.
Just ahead of the midway point of the third, Conor Garland finished an odd-man rush when he one-timed a return feed from Michael Bunting to reclaim a three-goal lead, putting the Roadrunners up 4-1.
The Gulls clawed back to get within one goal with 3:05 to play.
Just 13 seconds after San Diego inched back to within one, Mario Kempe drove to the net and pounded home his second of the night to give the Roadrunners a 5-3 lead with 2:52 to play.
Trevor Murphy added an empty-net goal with 1:44 left to secure the team’s 6-3 win.
“We bounced back from last weekend and did a lot of the things that we wanted to do as a team,” Merrick Madsen said following the win. “I’m happy with the guys’ effort, Kempe’s going out there and scoring two goals, our leaders were leading the way and getting us back on track.”
Five players finished the night with multiple points: Robbie Russo (2A), Conor Garland (1G, 1A), Mario Kempe (2G), Kyle Capobianco (2A), and Michael Bunting (2A).
The Roadrunners will continue their home stand Friday night when they host the San Jose Barracuda at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.
Photos courtesy: Kate Dibildox