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Preview: Tucson at Texas [R2, G5]

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Pacific Division Finals, Game 5
Tucson (4-4) at Texas (6-2)
Series: Stars, 3-1
5:00 PM MST, H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Cedar Park, Texas
Referees: #49 Reid Anderson, #10 Terry Koharski
Linesmen: #67 Travis Gawryletz, #71 Mitch MacPherson
SERIES SO FAR: Shutout for just the second time all year on Wednesday night, the Roadrunners now face a 3-1 series deficit after dropping Game 4 by a 2-0 score. The Roadrunners must win tonight to keep their season alive, and if they do, the series will shift back to Tucson Arena for the duration. Carter Camper (1G, 2A) and Lawson Crouse (3A) are the Roadrunners’ leading scorers this series. The Texas Stars are 9-2 all-time with a chance to close out a playoff series.
IT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE: There have been 18 teams in American Hockey League history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win, most recent the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2013. Carter Camper staved off elimination in three straight games with the Providence Bruins in 2013 in a best-of-five set, advancing after dropping the first two games of the series.
GOTTA GET A LEAD: The Roadrunners haven’t scored the first goal of a game since scoring the first goal of the series, Michael Bunting pouncing on a loose rebound at the 13:40 mark of the second period in Game 1 on May 2. Since then, the Stars have opened the scoring in each contest. Tucson is 4-0 in the playoffs when netting a game-opening goal, they have not held a lead since Bunting's overtime-winner in the series opener.
PROJECTED LINEUP: The team held a morning skate at the H-E-B Center ahead of tonight’s game. Per club policy, specifics regarding the team’s lineup will not be published until 4:45 PM.
SCOREBOARD: After scoring 16 goals in the first round against the San Jose Barracuda, the Roadrunners have netted a total of seven through the first four games against the Texas Stars, including one shutout. They’ve failed to score more than one goal in regulation in three of the series’ four games. Can Tucson’s offense open up tonight in a must-win scenario?
SHOOTING FOR RESULTS: Dylan Strome finished Wednesday’s game with a team-high six shots on goal, and has a total of 19 in the series. Strome, who hit the post moments after the Stars’ opening tally in Game 4, has been held without a point against Texas after registering eight (3G, 5A) in the first round. Strome’s 30 playoff shots registered is the highest total among rookies, and second-overall in the league. Can he reap the rewards of getting the puck on net tonight?
THEY SAID IT: “Obviously coming back from a situation like this has been done before. We’ve been a good team the whole year; we’ve just got to find a way to win this next game. We’re playing well, we’re not getting outplayed significantly, we’ve just got to find a way to get that first goal and make the most of our opportunities.” – Carter Camper, on heading into Game 5.
NEVER HAVE THEY EVER: Not once did the Roadrunners lose four consecutive games during the regular season, dropping three-straight on one occasion in a span that stretched from December 9-13. For them to be eliminated tonight, Texas would have to hand Tucson its first four-game skid of the year, and its first since March 31 – April 9 of the inaugural campaign.
GAME 1: Wednesday, May 2 - Texas (1) at Tucson (2) F/OT – BOX SCORE | RECAP
GAME 2: Friday, May 4 – Texas (4) at Tucson (1) – BOX SCORE | RECAP
GAME 3: Monday, May 7 – Tucson (4) at Texas (5) F/OT - BOX SCORE | RECAP
GAME 4: Wednesday, May 9 – Tucson (0) at Texas (2) - BOX SCORE | RECAP
GAME 5: Friday, May 11 – Tucson at Texas – 7:00 PM
GAME 6: Sunday, May 13 – Texas at Tucson – 7:05 PM - TICKETS
GAME 7: Monday, May 14 – Texas at Tucson – 7:05 PM - TICKETS
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: You can catch tonight’s action on AHL Live. Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Tom Callahan will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson. Radio coverage begins at 4:45 PM.