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Game #26 Preview: Tucson at Chicago

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #26 – Tucson (15-7-2-1) at Chicago (14-9-2-1)
2:00 PM PST, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Referees: #25 Jesse Gour, #1 Lucas Martin
Linesmen: #53 Jonathan Sladeck, #71 Shaun Morgan
The Roadrunners look to avoid dropping three-straight games for the first time this season as they make their second and final visit to Allstate Arena this afternoon, set to take on the Chicago Wolves a mere 20 hours following Saturday night’s 4-2 defeat.
The Wolves are feeling it; last night’s victory was the fourth consecutive for Chicago.
The teams split both of their weekend back-to-back series’ last season, neither club able to secure a two-game sweep. The Roadrunners will look to make it three even-splits with the Wolves with a win today before Chicago visits Tucson Arena on January 11 & 12.
This afternoon will end a run of eight games in 15 days for the Roadrunners, by far and away the most highly saturated stretch of schedule for the club thus far. They have earned points in five of the seven played, going 4-2-1-0.
Merrick Madsen is likely to get the start for the Roadrunners due to the quick turnaround. If he is to go, it will be his eighth start of the season and his 10th appearance overall, but only his third start away from Tucson Arena, where he’s been magnificent this season. Madsen is 0-1-0 in two road starts this year (November 16 at Stockton (L), November 25 at Ontario (ND)).


NICK FINDS THE NET: It didn’t take long for Nick Merkley to find the back of the net, depositing his first goal of the season in just his second game back with the club, beating Chicago’s Oscar Dansk with a wrap-around bid in the third period Saturday night. In what was a very active evening for the 21-year-old forward, he was tied for the team lead in shots registered with four.
CHICAGO’S ADVANTAGE: The Wolves, capitalizing on both of their power play opportunities Saturday night, enter the day with the fourth-best conversion rate in the American Hockey League, calculating in with a 23.0% success-rate. Chicago’s Daniel Carr leads the league in power play goals (8) and points (16), numbers elevated by his man advantage tally last night, the eventual game-winner.
TOP OF THE CHARTS: Adam Helewka put forth his seventh multi-point performance of the campaign last night, dishing off the primary assists on both Roadrunners goals. Kyle Capobianco scored his third goal of the season Saturday, giving him points in nine of his last 11 games. Helewka (8G, 12A) and Capobianco (3G, 17A) come into the afternoon as the Roadrunners’ co-leaders in points with 20 apiece.


NINETY-SEVEN: With his assist on Kyle Capobianco’s first period goal last night, forward Laurent Dauphin now has 97 career American Hockey League points (43G, 54A), that total amassed in 183 games in the league with the Portland Pirates (4), Springfield Falcons (66), Rockford IceHogs (33), and Roadrunners (80). 58 of his points (27G, 31A) have been registered with Tucson. His four career NHL points (3G, 1A) with the Arizona Coyotes gives him a current mark of 101 professional points.




You can catch today’s action with a live telecast on AHLTV; Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny will have the radio call on 97.1 FM The Bull Tucson, with coverage starting at 1:45 PM.