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Power play roars in Roadrunners' 7-5 win over Stockton

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Scoring at-will with an active power play on full display, the Roadrunners rolled to a 7-5 victory over the Stockton Heat Friday night at Stockton Arena.
The Roadrunners netted a season-high three power play goals in the win, forward Nick Merkley (1G, 2A) factoring in on all three as he extended his point streak to five games.
“Our power play was good tonight,” defenseman Cam Dineen noted. “Those guys capitalized on their chances. The rest of the team played well, everyone was focusing on their chances and putting them in the net.”
Eight players put forth multi-point performances, including Dineen (1G, 1A), who did so for the first time in his young professional career.
“It was kind of a crazy game with all of those penalties, a really high-scoring back-and-forth game, but we stuck together and played disciplined and came out on top, so it was a good start to the weekend,” he added.
The Roadrunners roared out of the gates to take a 3-0 lead in the first period, all three tallies coming in a 7:06 span.
Robbie Russo connected to open the scoring 9:19 into the contest when he walked into an Adam Helewka pass to execute during a five-on-three advantage, netting his second goal of the campaign.
Minutes later, Merkley crashed the net to deposit a loose rebound after Helewka’s initial shot, scoring the Roadrunners’ second-straight power play goal to net his third marker of the campaign.
With just over two minutes to play in the opening frame, Dineen joined a rush to score his second goal of the season, beating Stockton’s Tyler Parsons through the five-hole to give the Roadrunners a 3-0 lead.
With the primary assist on Dineen’s goal, Giovanni Fiore registered his first point in a Roadrunners uniform.
Matteo Gennaro upped Tucson’s lead to 4-0 in the opening moments of the second period, scoring his sixth goal of the year.
Stockton would get on the board with 15:20 to play in the middle frame via Ryan Lomberg, cutting the Roadrunners’ lead to 4-1.
Just shy of the game’s midway point, Jens Looke buried his seventh goal of the season, surpassing his rookie total in 36 fewer games. His tally gave the Roadrunners a 5-1 lead.
Just over a minute later, with 9:21 to play in the second, Fiore banked home his first goal with Tucson to give the Roadrunners a 6-1 advantage on the scoreboard.
The Heat rattled off three-straight goals to cut the Roadrunners’ lead to 6-4 early in the third period.
With 9:38 left to play in regulation, Lane Pederson deposited from the slot on a power play, giving Tucson a 7-4 lead in scoring his ninth goal of the year, tying him with Helewka and Hudson Fasching for the team lead.
Stockton buried its fifth of the night with seven seconds left on the clock.
Calvin Pickard stopped 22-of-27 shots faced to earn the win in his first game with the Roadrunners.
“We came out and played really well in the first period and I’m not sure what happened to us in the second,” Looke said. “We went down a little bit, maybe because we had the lead, but we can’t have that happen again, that’s something that we need to focus on tomorrow.”
The team will take on the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday night at Rabobank Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 8:00 PM MST.