Game #19 Preview: Tucson at Ontario
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 01, 2018 12:37 PM
Game #19 – Tucson (11-5-1-1) at Ontario (8-8-2-1)
4:00 PM PST, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Referees: #17 Peter Tarnaris, #65 Alex Normandin
Linesmen: #58 Matthew Jolliff, #24 J.M. McNulty
Their longest in-season hiatus from live play coming to an end, the Roadrunners saddle up against the Ontario Reign for the second consecutive game as they make the third of their four scheduled visits to Citizens Business Bank Arena this season for another late-afternoon affair.
When the puck drops just after 4:00 p.m. (MST), it will have been exactly one calendar week since the Roadrunners last played in a live game – which is the lengthiest stretch the team will be off the books all season.
Since these two clubs last met last Sunday in Ontario, the Reign have played two games, both on the road, beating the Bakersfield Condors by a 3-2 score Thursday morning and falling to the Stockton Heat by a 4-2 count Friday night.
Hunter Miska, re-assigned to the Roadrunners on Friday following his recall to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, will be with the team along with Merrick Madsen.
The Roadrunners will also have forward Domenic Alberga on their active roster after signing the 26-year-old to a PTO on Saturday. Alberga made the Tucson’s opening night roster and played in the team’s first three games of the season. He leads the Norfolk Admirals in scoring with 18 points (7G, 11A) in 18 ECHL games.
Mario Kempe, who absolutely tears apart the Reign at Citizens Business Bank Arena, scoring nine points (4G, 5A) in five career games played in Ontario, is currently with the NHL club on a recall and his services will not be available this afternoon.
BRAYDEN COMING UP BIG: The month of November was a coming out party of sorts for forward Brayden Burke, who potted five goals and six points in 10 games played during that span. Last weekend, Burke went off with three goals and four points in two games, registering back-to-back multi-point games. Citizens Business Bank Arena has been a special place for Burke in the early, early stages of his career; the building in which he recorded his first pro point (assist) on October 26 and multiple points (1G, 1A) on November 25.
MAKING IT REIGN: Dating back to the beginning of last season, the Roadrunners are averaging five goals scored per game when playing at Citizens Business Bank Arena, netting a total of 30 in their previous six visits to the Inland Empire. This season alone, in two stops to the Reign’s facilities, the Roadrunners have scored 14 goals. Ontario is dead last in goals allowed per game in the AHL this season, surrendering a median of 4.16 to opponents each contest.
CARRY-ON CONOR: Conor Garland will surpass Ryan MacInnis for third all-time in franchise games played when he takes the ice for his 128th game in a Roadrunners jersey this afternoon. He has been an absolute menace to Ontario this season, totaling seven points (3G, 4A) in two games against the Reign. The 22-year-old scored his seventh goal of the year last Sunday in the Roadrunners’ 7-6 OTL to the Reign, and is now one shy of his single-season career high of eight, which he accumulated in 55 games during the 2017-18 campaign.
NUMBER TO KNOW
ELEVEN: Defenseman Robbie Russo, with his plus-two rating last Sunday, now ranks fifth among all American Hockey League defensemen in plus/minus with a plus-11 rating. With points in five of his last seven games, Russo is also now tied with Kyle Capobianco for the team-lead in assists with 11.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE
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 97.1 FM The Bull Tucson, with coverage starting at 3:45 PM.