Game #24 Preview: Tucson vs. Colorado
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 12, 2018 12:30 PM
Game #24 – Tucson (15-5-2-1) vs. Colorado (12-8-3-1)
7:05 PM PST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #47 Michael Markovic, $49 Reid Anderson
Linesmen: #30 Ken Bonham, #90 Mike Sarter
Set to play their fourth game in six nights, the Roadrunners will reconvene with the Colorado Eagles tonight at Tucson Arena, further chipping away at the 12-count of meetings slated to be played between the two clubs.
The Roadrunners will also be completing their four-game home stand, where they’ve gone 3-0-0-0 to improve their overall mark on home ice to 9-2-0-0. This will cap the team’s lone stretch of four consecutive games at Tucson Arena all season; the club has two six-game stretches at home from January 21 – February 2 and March 19-30, both of which the Eagles are involved in.
Hot the Roadrunners are, but they’re not alone. Their current streak of points in eight consecutive games (6-0-2-0) is matched by the San Jose Barracuda (6-0-1-1). The Roadrunners can surpass the Barracuda in standings points with a win or OT/SO loss tonight.
A new team record was set Tuesday night as the Roadrunners’ longest shutout streak was made official when Colorado’s Ty Lewis scored with 6:44 left in regulation. It ended a run of 156:27 without allowing a goal that began in the second period of Friday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Ontario Reign.
Activated off IR, Nick Merkley is expected to return to the lineup tonight, confirmed by hockey operations and General Manager Steve Sullivan.
PEDEY’S HOT: Forward Lane Pederson has scored in three-straight games and has put forth back-to-back multi-point performances. With a goal and an assist Tuesday night, he’s got a total of 12 points (6G, 6A) on the year, and three (2G, 1A) in two games against the Colorado Eagles. Pederson’s current run follows a span of seven games where he was held off the score sheet.
SECRET WEAPON: Nick Merkley is likely to return to the Roadrunners’ lineup tonight, playing in his first game since March 20 of last season. He averaged more than a point-per-game during the 2018-19 campaign, totaling 39 (18G, 21A) in 38 games played. “I’m just excited,” he said Wednesday morning. “I can’t really put it into words, it’s been so long, a lot of hard work and long practices and lots of rehab, so it’s just nice to be back in and hopefully I can help the boys get another win.”
POWER PLAYIN’: Entering the night, the Roadrunners have executed on the power play in each of their last five games, going an astounding 7-for-20 during that span, a 35% success rate. They are 7-1-0-0 this season when scoring at least one power play goal. Climbing up from the bottom, the Roadrunners have made monumental strides on the man advantage, now 20th in the AHL with a 17.0% conversion rate.
NUMBER TO KNOW
THREE: In his four starts made at Tucson Arena, Merrick Madsen has recorded three shutouts and allowed a combined three goals on 101 shots, making a total of 98 saves in those efforts. Overall, when starting at home, he is a perfect 4-0-0 with a .970 SV% and a 0.75 GAA.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE
Catch tonight’s action LIVE on AHLTV or join Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson as he calls the game from the Roadrunners’ flagship radio station, where coverage begins at 6:50 PM.