Roadrunners power past Ontario; rebound with a 5-2 win
By: Alex Kinkopf
December 05, 2017 9:46 PM
The Roadrunners struck for three power play goals, the most they've registered in a single game this season, en route to a 5-2 victory over the Ontario Reign Tuesday night at Tucson Arena.
An offensive outpour it was, and the highlight was balanced scoring; 11 different players recorded a point for Tucson.
“I thought our power play looked good,” Mike Van Ryn noted following the win. “I thought our guys were getting to the net, especially in the first. I thought our guys did a real good job driving the back post, kind of making the goalie a little bit uncomfortable.”
The power play produced; and it did so from the get-go.
Just past the midway mark of the opening frame, and while working on their first man advantage opportunity of the evening, Jens Looke, set up in Ontario’s slot, buried a Tye McGinn pass to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead.
For McGinn, it was his first point in a Roadrunners uniform.
“Personally it felt really good to get that off of my shoulders,” McGinn said of getting on the score sheet. “It was a great win tonight.”
In the closing moments of the first period, Mike Sislo fired home a Kyle Wood feed as he stood alone on the back-door during the team’s third power play of the night to give the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead.
Ontario’s Matt Luff got the Reign to within a goal, scoring with 8:47 left to play in the second period.
Less than five minutes later, Zach Leslie tied the game 2-2.
In the third, the Roadrunners’ offense rallied for three unanswered goals.
Tyler Gaudet buried his third goal of the season 36 seconds into the final frame from the right circle after receiving a pass from Michael Latta.
Dysin Mayo joined a rush and redirected a Conor Garland pass past Ontario’s Cal Petersen to register his first goal of the season and to give the Roadrunners a 4-2 lead.
With 14:28 left to play in regulation, Nick Merkley, all alone in front of Ontario’s net, buried his team-leading 12th goal of the season to put the Roadrunners up 5-2, the night’s eventual final score.
Merkley’s goal was the team’s third of the power play variety. He is now tied for third among AHL players in goals scored (12), and is tied for first among active rookies in points (23).
Adin Hill stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced in earning his fourth win of the season. He is now a perfect 4-0-0 against the Reign at Tucson Arena.
The Roadrunners maintain first place in the Pacific Division with an 11-4-2-1 mark, good for a .694 win percentage.
The team will begin a two-game road trip Friday night when they take on the San Jose Barracuda at the SAP Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 8:00 PM MST.
Photos courtesy: Kate Dibildox and Chris Hook