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Game #22 Preview: Tucson vs. Ontario

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #22 – Tucson (13-5-2-1) vs. Ontario (9-8-2-2)
7:05 PM PST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #55 Dan Kelly, #23 Jonathan Sitarski
Linesmen: #59 Roby Fay, #20 Brent Hooks
For the fourth time in five games, the Roadrunners will take on the Ontario Reign in what will serve as the fifth of eight scheduled meetings between the clubs this season. They will not play each other again until March 8.
The Roadrunners are 2-0-2-0 so far against the Los Angeles Kings’ affiliate; the teams have combined to score 42 goals (including OT/SO deciding goals) through their first four battles.
With Friday night’s shootout win, the Roadrunners have earned points in six-straight games (4-0-2-0) dating back to November 21, which is their longest stretch of the season. The franchise record for points in consecutive games is 10, which was set from October 21 – November 18, 2016 when the inaugural team went on an 8-0-2-0 run.
Tonight acts as the third annual Teddy Bear Toss game; the Ontario Reign have been the opponent each time. The Roadrunners are 1-1-0-0 in Teddy Bear Toss games, winning 5-4 in overtime on December 9, 2016 and falling 4-2 on December 3, 2017.
Zbynek Michalek scored the Teddy Bear Toss goal during the inaugural campaign; Kyle Capobianco scored the goal last season.
There are four players who have appeared in a game with the Roadrunners this season currently in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes: goaltender Adin Hill and forwards Mario Kempe, Conor Garland, and Michael Bunting. Garland is expected to make his NHL debut tonight against the San Jose Sharks.
Entering the evening, the Roadrunners' .690 points percentage is the fifth-best in the American Hockey League.


EXTRA, EXTRA!: The Roadrunners have extended past regulation in three-straight games against the Ontario Reign, losing in overtime on two occasions and winning in a shootout last night. Overall, Tucson has needed more than 60 minutes in six of its 21 games played thus far, going 2-2 in overtimes and 1-1 in shootouts.
CAPO’S GOT POINTS: Defenseman Kyle Capobianco registered his first-career three-point game (1G, 2A) Friday, and now has a total of 16 (2G, 14A) on the season. Capobianco’s 16 points are the second most among active Roadrunners roster players, and 13th among all AHL defensemen. In four games against the Reign this season, he has six points (2G, 4A).
MOVING FORWARD: Due to lineup adjustments, the Roadrunners are likely to dress more than six defensemen for the fourth-straight game tonight. Trevor Murphy has played forward in the team’s last two games; Kevin Ekman-Larsson skated as a right wing Friday on the fourth line. “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 after the team earned two points dressing 10 forwards and eight defensemen.


SEVENTEEN: The Roadrunners improved to 14-7-3-0 all-time against the Ontario Reign with Friday night’s 4-3 shootout win, having earned points in 17 of 24 match-ups against the Los Angeles Kings’ affiliate.




Catch tonight’s action LIVE on AHLTV or join Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson as he calls the game from the Roadrunners’ flagship radio station, where coverage begins at 6:50 PM.