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Game #9 Preview: Tucson at Colorado

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #9 – Tucson (6-1-0-1) at Colorado (4-2-2-0)
6:05 PM PST, Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Colorado
Referees: #32 Troy Murray, #42 Corey Syvret
Linesmen: #86 Lucas Bisbee, #1 Chase McGee
Situated to take on the 15th opponent in franchise history, the Roadrunners will face the expansion Colorado Eagles in the first of the teams' back-to-back affairs this weekend at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
Tonight marks the first of 12 scheduled meetings between the clubs this season; the Roadrunners will play the Eagles more than any other opponent this year.
Sixth in the league in scoring, the Roadrunners are averaging four goals per game. David Ullstrom, who’s chimed in with five points (3G, 2A) in his four games with Tucson, chimed in on the key to the team’s offensive success.
“Our offense starts from our defense, and I think our defense is doing a real good job breaking out the puck, skating it up and giving it to the forwards, we don’t get stuck in our end too much,” he noted. “One thing that coach talks about too is our energy and our speed, we’re a good skating team and it’s a lot of fun to play like that, we’ve been able to create a lot of chances during the games I’ve played.”
The Eagles, coming off of a pair of road losses to the Iowa Wild last weekend, are 2-1-1-0 on home ice this season, and with an overall record of 4-2-2-0 that translates into a .625 points percentage, are currently in third-place in the Pacific Division.
The Roadrunners have yet to come up empty-handed on the road in five games played away from Tucson Arena, posting a 4-0-0-1 record, pocketing nine of 10 points for the taking in opposing buildings.
Hunter Miska, more than likely, will make his second-straight start.


KEEPING AN EYE ON YOU: Through their first eight games, which has called for roughly 500 minutes of hockey, the Roadrunners have only trailed their opponents by more than one goal for a total of 14:33. They have overcome three deficits to win games, and are 4-0-0-1 in games decided by one goal this season.
TREMENDOUS TRIO: Assembled as the team’s second line during last weekend’s wins in Ontario and San Diego, the line of Mario Kempe (1G, 3A), David Ullstrom (3G, 1A), and Conor Garland (2G, 5A) combined for 15 points. The three are expected to play alongside each other again this weekend in Colorado. “Kempe can fly, Ullstrom makes a lot of plays,” Garland said of the line. “When you’re on the ice with those guys you’ve got to be ready, plays happen fast.”
STRENGTHEN THE KILL: Ranked last in the league in the penalty kill, allowing 10 goals during 32 shorthanded instances through their first eight games, the Roadrunners will look to shut down an Eagles power play that sits at 27th in the AHL with a 12.8% success-rate (5-for-39).


EIGHTY-FIVE: The Roadrunners’ 85 total penalty minutes this season is the third fewest in the American Hockey League, more than only the Iowa Wild’s 73 and the Bakersfield Condors’ 70.




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 5:45 PM.