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Roadrunners surmount deficit to stun Ontario in a shootout

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Overcoming a three-goal deficit to best the Ontario Reign Friday night, the Roadrunners extended their point streak to six games with a 4-3 shootout victory at Tucson Arena.
Having to make a number of lineup adjustments due to NHL recalls and injuries, the Roadrunners iced 10 forwards and eight defensemen in the win, Trevor Murphy and Kevin Ekman-Larsson taking on alternate roles playing as forwards.
“It doesn’t matter who’s playing or where they’re playing, we have a style we want to play,” head coach Jay Varady said when asked about the roster moves. “We happened to have eight defensemen and ten forwards in our lineup tonight, two of those defensemen were playing forward and I thought those guys did a good job for us.”
Ontario built a 3-0 lead into the early stages of the second period after outshooting the Roadrunners by a commanding 19-7 count through the opening 20 minutes of play.
Tucson, seemingly down and out, found a way to claw its way back.
“Resilient, that’s the word you use to describe that effort,” Jay Varady noted. “Obviously that’s not the way, not the way we wanted to play, they controlled the entire tempo in the first I thought, but I thought we came in and regrouped, our leadership took control of the locker room and we played 40 minutes of hockey tonight.”
Lane Pederson was the first Roadrunner to cut into Ontario’s lead, netting his fourth goal of the season when he jammed an Adam Helewka rebound past Peter Budaj from the top of the crease to make the score 3-1 with 13:34 to play in the second.
Four minutes later, Laurent Dauphin got the Roadrunners to within one when he chipped his fourth goal of the year past Ontario’s Budaj, extending his scoring streak to six games with 9:29 left in the middle frame.
Down by one in the third period, Kyle Capobianco delivered to even the score, pinching in to bury a puck that ricochet off the back-wall to the top shelf 11:41 left on the clock.
Capobianco’s goal gave him three points (1G, 2A) on the night, the first time he’s accumulated more than two in a single game in his professional career.
The Roadrunners killed off a late penalty to force the game to overtime, but neither team could find the net during five minutes of three-on-three play.
Extending to their second shootout of the season, the Roadrunners topped the Reign by a 2-0 margin as Laurent Dauphin and Jordan Gross connected on their breakaways while Hunter Miska thwarted both of Ontario’s attempts.
“I felt confident,” defenseman Jordan Gross said when he was tapped on the shoulder to shoot in the third round. “I’ve got a move that I typically do that works well in practice, so I just stuck with what works and it ended up working out tonight.”
Hunter Miska stopped 34 of the 37 shots he faced to earn his sixth win of the season.
The teams will meet again Saturday night at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.
*Photos courtesy: Chris Hook & Kate Dibildox