Roadrunners powerful, convincing en route to first-ever home playoff win
By: Alexander Kinkopf
April 25, 2018 10:09 PM
The Roadrunners powered their way to a commanding 6-0 victory over the San Jose Barracuda in front of a boisterous 4,799 Wednesday night at Tucson Arena, putting on a stellar showing in their home playoff debut.
With the win, Tucson has taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Pacific Division semi-final series.
All six goals came from different players; 12 names recorded at least one point – tying a franchise record. The team's win was their largest margin of victory all season. Adin Hill turned away all 21 shots he faced to earn his first postseason shutout.
“We played together as a full team tonight,” Lawson Crouse said after the game. “Our compete level was there for a full 60 minutes, and that’s what you want to see. When you get off to the start we got off to, it enables you to play with a little more confidence, confidence that you can push forward with and build off of.”
Michael Bunting got the Roadrunners on the board just over two minutes into the game, netting the first home playoff goal in team history when he buried a Dylan Strome feed as he stood alone in front of San Jose’s net.
Just past the midway point of the opening frame, Lawson Crouse finished a nifty triangle sequence during a power play, giving the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead.
With less than four minutes remaining in the first, Lane Pederson sped into San Jose’s zone on the left side and beat Antoine Bibeau with a wrist shot, upping Tucson’s lead to 3-0.
The Roadrunners were quick to get to work in the second, Mike Sislo redirecting a Dakota Mermis shot in for the team’s fourth goal of the evening at the 6:53 mark of the middle frame.
Late in the second, Andrew Campbell stepped into a rebound that found its way to the top of the left circle. Campbell’s shot beat Bibeau high off the cross-bar and in, chasing San Jose’s goaltender from the game.
Mario Kempe delivered the Roadrunners’ sixth and final goal of the evening in the opening minute of the third, skating into Barracuda territory on the right side and beating Stephon Williams with a wrist-shot to the far side.
Four players: Andrew Campbell, Dakota Mermis, Lawson Crouse, and Dylan Strome, finished the night with multiple points.
Strome finished with three assists; he is tied with Grand Rapids’ Ben Street for the second-highest total in playoff scoring with six points (3G, 3A).
“I think we played well tonight,” Strome said in recollect. “From the drop of the puck we felt good, we created a lot of turnovers, and I don’t think we gave up a shot in the first period until there were three minutes left or something. It was a great game by our defense to keep them out of our zone, and our forwards were hard on the forecheck creating chances.”
The teams will meet for Game 4 on Friday night at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.
Photos courtesy: Chris Hook & Kate Dibildox