Roadrunners overcome Condors in thrilling Tucson return
By: Alexander Kinkopf
February 17, 2018 9:59 PM
In playing their first home game in three weeks, the Roadrunners fought past the Bakersfield Condors, winning 5-4 in front of 6,311 Saturday night at Tucson Arena.
The club’s win improved their record to a perfect 5-0-0-0 against the Condors this season.
Bakersfield had the edge early on, tallying a pair of goals in the opening 6:40 of play to take a 2-0 lead.
“We knew when we were down 2-0, we were talking about it on the bench, that all we needed was one goal to get the crowd into it,” Mike Van Ryn said. “We got it rolling and we were feeding off of it.”
Lane Pederson got the Roadrunners on the board with 3:06 left in the first, capitalizing on a Dylan Strome feed as he stood on the back-door to score his ninth goal of the season.
Pederson’s goal was his third in four games.
With 41 seconds left to play in the opening frame, John Ramage stepped into a Joel Hanley pass from atop the point, beating Bakersfield’s Nick Ellis to tie the score 2-2.
Tyler Gaudet completed the Roadrunners’ early comeback just over four minutes into the second, when he opened up for a pass from Ryan Kujawinski and buried his 11th goal of the season.
Gaudet’s goal, his 22nd point of the season, matched his point-total from the 2016-17 season in 17 fewer games.
In the third, Mike Sislo gave the Roadrunners a 4-2 lead when a puck found its way to his stick as he sat alone in the left circle. Sislo beat Ellis for his 16th goal of the season. He has recorded a point in 17 of the Roadrunners’ last 21 games.
Bakersfield responded to cut the Roadrunners’ lead back to one with 2:59 left to play, but Dylan Strome chimed in with an empty net goal with 49 seconds remaining on the clock.
Strome finished the night with four points (1G, 3A), tying a career-high mark that he set on November 22 against the San Diego Gulls. Strome’s three assists also matched a career-best, one that he set on October 28 against the Iowa Wild.
The Condors would score with 11 seconds left to play, but the clock would ultimately work in the Roadrunners’ favor, as they were able to secure a 5-4 victory.
“We’ve just got a culture of not liking to lose,” Strome said. “We don’t expect to lose; we expect to win every game, and I know that’s kind of cliché. When you come into a game and you feel like your team’s going to win that definitely helps the team’s confidence.”
The team’s record now stands at 28-15-2-1, good for first place in the Pacific Division.
The Roadrunners will continue their four-game home stand Monday afternoon when they take on the Bakersfield Condors at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 4:05 PM.
*Photos courtesy: Chris Hook & Kate Dibildox