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Game #14 Preview: Tucson at Stockton

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #14 – Tucson (9-3-0-1) at Stockton (7-7-1-0)
8:00 PM PST, Stockton Arena, Stockton, California
Referees: #35 Guillaume Labonte, #34 Stephen Reneau
Linesmen: #21 Alexander Ledovskiy, #83 Andrew Norris
Coming off of a stupendous home stand that resulted in three wins in which the Roadrunners outscored opponents by a combined 12-3 count, the team now takes to the road for one game as they get set for a date with the Stockton Heat in the first of eight scheduled meetings between the clubs this season.
Tonight marks the first of three-straight games against the Heat; the teams will play twice more this coming Tuesday and Wednesday night at Tucson Arena.
“In the past, well historically, they’ve been a big, heavy team that plays really physical,” Lane Pederson said of the Heat on Thursday. “We’re expecting a good game, they’ve got a lot of good players on their roster, we’ve got to bring our best and focus on getting those two points.”
The Roadrunners will be without defensemen Dakota Mermis and Robbie Russo, who were each recalled to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Hunter Miska remains on Arizona’s NHL roster; Adin Hill and Merrick Madsen will be the Roadrunners’ goaltenders tonight. Hill was cleared for team practice on Wednesday, while Ty Reichenbach was released from his PTO.
Merrick Madsen enters the evening with a 123:05 minute shutout streak. Adin Hill has missed the team’s last six games due to a lower-body injury.
The Roadrunners’ current three-game win streak matches the longest one the club has strung together this season, when they opened the campaign with back-to-back-to-back victories on October 6, 12 & 13.


FEELING AT HOME: Attractive results have come for the Roadrunners more often than not when playing at Stockton Arena. In eight visits all-time to the Heat’s home confines, the Roadrunners are 6-1-1-0, earning 13 of a possible 16 standings points in said building. Stockton Arena also played host to the first win in franchise history on October 21, 2016, that coming as a 2-1 final secured by a Brendan Perlini overtime goal.
CREATING SPACE: With the San Jose Barracuda sitting idle, the Roadrunners can create a bit of separation for themselves at the top of what is a very tight-knit Pacific Division with a win tonight. Toe-to-toe with the Barracuda in record (9-3-0-1) and points percentage (.731%), the Roadrunners lead by way of their nine regulation/overtime wins, topping San Jose’s eight.
DRIVEN BY DEPTH: The Roadrunners have gone 4-2-0-0 during Adin Hill’s absence from the team’s lineup, and 3-0-0-0 with team captain Dakota Mermis and Hunter Miska filling recall roles with the Arizona Coyotes. The team will be without Mermis and Miska again tonight, as well as defenseman Robbie Russo. Hill is expected to be available. “It just speaks to our depth that we have on the back-end and up-front,” Lane Pederson said of the team’s ability to adapt to roster change. “Any line can contribute and put one in on any given night and we’ve got a lot of good defensemen back there that can step in anytime and fill different roles, and that makes for a good recipe.” Defenseman Kevin Ekman-Larsson could make his season debut tonight.


MINUS-18: Despite treading water with a .500 record of 7-7-1-0, the Stockton Heat have been outscored by a 66-48 margin this season, a difference of 18 goals. The Heat are ranked 29th in the AHL in goals allowed this season, surrendering an average of 4.40 per game.




You can catch tonight’s action at Brother John’s Beer Bourbon & BBQ, the official watch party location for all Roadrunners road games during the 2018-19 season. A live telecast is available on AHLTV; Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson, with coverage starting at 5:45 PM.