Game #61 Preview: Tucson vs. Colorado
By: Alexander Kinkopf
March 29, 2019 11:08 AM
Game #61 – Tucson (30-23-5-2) vs. Colorado (33-24-4-1)
7:05 PM PST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #19 Tim Mayer, #17 Peter Tarnaris
Linesmen: #20 Brent Hooks, #90 Mike Sarter
The Roadrunners host the Colorado Eagles tonight at Tucson Arena, marking the 11th of 12 scheduled regular season meetings between the two teams.
A gigantic night lies ahead for the Arizona organization against that of Colorado. For the Coyotes, a win in regulation against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center would move them into a tie in points for the NHL’s second Western Conference wild card spot.
For the Roadrunners, against Colorado’s AHL affiliate Eagles, a win in regulation would move them to within two points of a playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
So far in the season series, the Roadrunners have posted a 2-6-2-0 record against the Eagles. Tucson has won five of its past six games overall, stringing together a 5-1-0-0 record.
While they’re down! Colorado comes into the evening having dropped each of its last three games, scoring a combined two goals while going 0-2-1-0 during that stretch. That was preceded, however, by a nine-game win streak from February 26 - March 16.
Entering the night four points back of the Eagles for the Pacific Division’s fourth and final playoff spot, the Roadrunners, as detailed above, have a prime opportunity to cut that gap in half with a win tonight.
All teams in the division are active tonight except for the sixth-place Stockton Heat. The second-place San Jose Barracuda host the seventh-place Ontario Reign, while the third-place San Diego Gulls host the first-place Bakersfield Condors -- both games scheduled for 7:00 PM starts.
CHAPUT COMING THROUGH: Michael Chaput, acquired at the NHL trade deadline, has been providing in a big way since joining the Roadrunners’ lineup on March 8. The veteran forward is averaging a point per game with Tucson, registering eight (4G, 4A) in eight games played, including the primary assists on each of the game-winning goals scored last weekend.
SOPHOMORE SENSATION: Lane Pederson, who netted his first-career hat trick last Saturday, leads the Roadrunners in goals (19) and points (40). The second-year pro also leads the team in scoring against the Eagles this season, totaling seven points (4G, 3A) in 10 games played against Colorado. He is just the seventh player in franchise history to register at least 40 points with the Roadrunners in a single season.
STAY DISCIPLINED: The Eagles been penalized more than any team in the Western Conference this season, and the second-most in the entire American Hockey League. Their 1,040 total penalty minutes include 36 major infractions. The Roadrunners, on the other hand, are the third-least penalized team in the league with a total of 685 minutes and a league-low nine majors. Tucson is 19-8-4-0 when scoring a power play goal this season and 28-9-6-0 when netting two on the man advantage.
NUMBER TO KNOW
TWO: Adin Hill has held opponents to two goals or fewer in each of his previous six starts, and in 10 of his last 14. He ranks seventh in the AHL among qualified goaltenders with a 2.41 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.
Photo: Kate Dibildox