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Game #7 Preview: Tucson at Ontario

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #7 – Tucson (4-1-0-1) at Ontario (1-3-2-1)
7:00 PM PST, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Referees: #84 Jake Rekucki, #17 Peter Tarnaris
Linesmen: #23 Adam Bell, #24 J.M. McNulty
The Roadrunners get set to kick-off a four-game road trip tonight in Southern California, making the first of their four scheduled visits to Ontario Reign’s Citizens Business Bank Arena this season, marking the first of eight meetings between the clubs.
The Reign, reeling early, are winless at home, and are without a victory in each of their previous five contests. They are coming off of a pair of road losses to the Colorado Eagles last weekend, while the Roadrunners are venturing into town after splitting a two-game set with the Rockford IceHogs at Tucson Arena.
Transitioning into the trip after suffering their first regulation loss of the season, Conor Garland made note of the team’s mindset and approach heading into Friday night’s affair.
“Our team didn’t take any points for granted last year, we knew every point was big, so it’s the same thing this year,” he said. “We’re a fast team, we play hard, and we’re going to be hard to play against no matter what building we’re in. Every game’s big, especially when it’s against a division team in their building.”


HELLO, MARIO!: Upon clearing waivers Thursday, forward Mario Kempe was assigned to the Roadrunners from the Coyotes. Kempe, who appeared in four games with Arizona this season, totaled 37 points (18G, 19A) in 47 games with Tucson last year, and scored the most goals (4) during the team’s Calder Cup Playoff run. The Kramfors, Sweden native posted seven points (3G, 4A) in seven games against Ontario last season, five of which (3G, 2A) came at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
GETTIN’ GOALS: Entering the night, the Reign are second-to-last in the American Hockey League in goals allowed, surrendering an average of 5.14 per game. Not once have they held an opponent to four regulation goals or less through their first seven games. The Roadrunners, smack-dab in the middle of team scoring rankings with an average of 3.33 goals scored per game, will look to capitalize offensively tonight.
SOMETHING SPECIAL: Though one of the least penalized teams in the AHL, the Roadrunners’ penalty kill ranks at the bottom of the league with a 66.7% kill rate, allowing eight goals during 24 combined shorthanded situations. The team’s power play, which has executed on 5-of-36 chances, ranks 26th in the league with a 13.9% success rate. Tucson is without a power play goal on the road this year. Can the Roadrunners’ special teams do a bit of lifting tonight against a struggling Reign club?


FIFTY: Jens Looke has found the back of the net on 50% of his shots taken this season. Looke, with three goals in three games played, has cut halfway into his six-goal total from his 59-game rookie campaign in 2017-18 on just six shots.




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 6:45 PM.