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Game #17 Preview: Tucson at Bakersfield

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #17 – Tucson (10-5-0-1) at Bakersfield (9-6-0-0)
8:00 PM PST, Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, California
Referees: #54 Olivier Gouin, #44 Furman South
Linesmen: #53 Bevan Mills, #23 Adam Bell
A four-game road trip begins tonight for the Roadrunners when they make their second of four scheduled visits to Rabobank Arena to take on the Bakersfield Condors, a club they edged 2-1 in the teams’ first meeting on October 13.
The Condors have gone 4-1-0-0 on home ice since the Roadrunners’ win.
Uplifted by a high-character performance on Wednesday night at Tucson Arena in a big bounce-back 3-2 win over the Stockton Heat, the Roadrunners will look to snap a three-game road losing streak that has quietly snuck up on them during what has been a rather successful season.
Now double-digits in the win column with a 10-5-0-1 record, the Roadrunners occupy second-place in the Pacific Division with a .656 win percentage.
For the first time since November 3, the Roadrunners will be with the services of Hunter Miska, who upon earning an NHL recall to the Arizona Coyotes on November 7, missed six of the AHL club’s games. He made his NHL debut on November 13 against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena, stopping eight of the nine shots he faced in 18:16 of relief of Darcy Kuemper.
In six starts and seven total appearances with the Roadrunners this season, the Stacy, Minnesota native is 3-3-1 with a 3.11 GAA and a .901 SV%. In five starts made against the Condors last season, Miska went 4-1-0, including a 3-0-0 mark in Bakersfield.
Having played last night, the Bakersfield Condors are coming off of a 4-2 win over the Ontario Reign, a victory fueled by three third period goals.


TWO IN TWO IN TWO: The Roadrunners will be playing two games in two different cities in a 20-hour span. This marks the third time this the year the club has gone back-to-back on the road against separate teams, they are a perfect 4-0-0-0 in all four of those contests, accounting for all of their road wins this season. October 12 & 13 – at San Diego, Bakersfield. October 26 & 27 – at Ontario, San Diego.
CAPOBIANCO HELPER: Kyle Capobianco registered his team-leading 10th assist of the season Wednesday night, and is currently eighth among all AHL defensemen in that department. Capobianco’s assist Wednesday upped him to fourth all-time in assists in franchise history with 38 – behind Michael Bunting (42), Kyle Wood (45), and Chris Mueller (48).
WATCH CLOSELY: The Condors have two rookie forwards, Cameron Hebig and Tyler Benson, that have been doing a substantial amount of damage to opponents this season. Both Hebig (15) and Benson (14) are among the top-10 in rookie scoring, while Hebig’s nine goals lead all first-year players.


TWO-HUNDRED: Should he dress tonight as expected, defenseman Dakota Mermis will be playing in his 200th-career AHL game. Having done so all in the Coyotes’ system with the Springfield Falcons (2015-16) and Roadrunners (2016 – Present), he has totaled 49 points (8G, 41A). The fourth-year pro has 10 NHL games on his resume to go with that milestone.


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 7:45 PM.