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Roadrunners, Madsen shutout San Jose in convincing fashion

By: Alexander Kinkopf
The Roadrunners handled the Western Conference’s top team in impressive fashion Friday night, ousting the San Jose Barracuda by a 5-0 score at Tucson Arena as goaltender Merrick Madsen recorded his first AHL shutout.
Madsen, in what was just his second start with the Roadrunners, fended off all 19 shots the Barracuda fired his way.
“I thought he made some good saves tonight in key times, especially in the second period there he made a couple of big saves there for us,” Head Coach Jay Varady noted postgame. “I thought the guys played hard in front of him tonight, I thought we had some good shot blocks from various guys throughout our group.”
Entering the night, San Jose was tops in the league in goals-against, allowing less than two goals per per contest, had outscored their opponents 43-21, and were throughly dominant on the road, boasting a perfect record away from home. Unfazed by the numbers, Tucson slayed any preconceived expectations heading into the teams' match-up en route to a powerful victory.
The Roadrunners played an aggressive game from the get-go, and protected their own zone with authority, outshooting the Barracuda 17-2 in the first period and 23-2 through the first half of the contest.
Adam Helewka continued to haunt his former team with a pair of goals, his first coming just under eight minutes into the game when he buried a power play goal from the left point to give the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead.
In the late stages of the first, Michael Bunting and Jordan Gross connected through timing and hand-eye coordination, Bunting redirecting a Gross shot past Josef Korenar to give the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead with 2:57 left in the opening frame.
Helewka tacked on his second of the night midway through the second period, finding himself alone on the back-door to receive a pass from David Ullstrom which he easily deposited into a wide-open net.
In scoring his team-leading seventh goal of the season, Helewka gave the Roadrunners a 3-0 lead.
“Yeah, of course there is [a little more energy],” Helewka said in playing his former team. “It’s playing against all of the guys I know and the staff I used to play for, I’ve got a little more jump in me.”
With just over five minutes left in regulation, David Ullstrom hustled to join a rush and jammed a loose puck home to salvage a broken play, giving the Roadrunners a 4-0 lead.
Lane Pederson capped off the scoring, putting the finishing touches on a beautifully executed three-on-one sequence to give the Roadrunners a 5-0 lead with 2:08 left to play.
Nine different players recorded at least one point for the Roadrunners, while five finished with multiple. Those were Jordan Gross (2A), Mario Kempe (3A), Michael Bunting (1G, 1A), Adam Helewka (2G), and David Ullstrom (1G, 1A).
“I thought we played pretty well right from the start,” Varady added. “Something we’re looking to do is get pressure on the puck, and I thought we had that for most of the night tonight.”
For the Barracuda, it was just their second regulation loss this season. The Roadrunners are now 8-3-0-1 on the year.
The teams will reconvene for the final game of the weekend series Saturday night at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.
Photos courtesy: Chris Hook & Kate Dibildox