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Game Recaps

Tucson topped in tight-knit affair; falls 3-1 to Stockton

By: Alexander Kinkopf
The Roadrunners suffered just their fourth regulation loss of the season Friday night, falling to the Stockton Heat by a 3-1 score at Stockton Arena.
Stockton generated its first lead of the contest with five minutes left in regulation; the defeat snapped the Roadrunners’ three-game win streak.
“I think we played pretty well, there were a lot of penalties, we had a lot of chances to get two points, but sometimes it’s just not there,” Kevin Ekman-Larsson said following the game. “[Merrick] did what he needed to do, we need to help him out.”
Picking up right where he left off after netting the game-winner in Tucson’s 1-0 win last Saturday, Hudson Fasching found the back of the net to open the scoring to give the Roadrunners an early lead over the Heat 4:35 into the first period.
Kevin Ekman-Larsson, making his season debut, assisted Fasching with a lofty stretch-pass through the neutral zone. Fasching, flying behind coverage, walked into Ekman-Larsson’s well-placed feed to beat Nick Schneider with a shot to the blocker side, potting his fourth goal of the season.
“I saw their weak d-man cheating a little bit in the neutral zone, I saw [Fasching] going for it and I just flipped it out,” Ekman-Larsson said when describing the play. “I felt really good, I was excited to play again, obviously we didn’t win, but next time.”
Just over six minutes later, Stockton’s Matthew Phillips tied the game 1-1.
Merrick Madsen’s shutout streak was snapped at 134:35 minutes, serving as the second-longest of such in regular season franchise history, behind Adin Hill’s stretch of 162:34 set from March 30 – April 13 of last season.
Neither team would find the back of the net again until Stockton’s Kerby Rychel gave the Heat a 2-1 lead with 5:07 to play in the third. Oliver Kylington added an empty net goal with :22 remaining to make it 3-1.
What looked to be a game-tying goal from Mario Kempe with just over two minutes remaining in regulation was waved off due to goaltender interference.
The Roadrunners went 0-for-7 on the power play, and killed off all six of Stockton’s man advantage opportunities. Neither team could execute offensively on special teams, the two clubs combining for 13 power plays throughout the evening.
Merrick Madsen stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced, suffering his first American Hockey League loss.  
The Roadrunners return to begin a two-game home stand Tuesday night, when they’ll play the second of three-straight games against the Stockton Heat. The puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM at Tucson Arena.