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Roadrunners pick up a point in late overtime loss to Colorado

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Photo: Chris Hook          
The Roadrunners dropped their home stand finale to the Colorado Eagles by a 5-4 score in overtime on Saturday night at Tucson Arena, surrendering the game-winning goal with just 3.8 seconds left in the extra frame.
The team completed its six-game stretch on home ice with a 2-3-1-0 mark.
Firing away for 48 shots, the second-highest total of the season, and scoring three power play goals, the Roadrunners offense showed crucial signs of life as they came back from three separate deficits over the course of the night.
“I thought we had good compete most of the night,” said head coach Jay Varady. “I thought it was an edgier game than last night and I thought we had an answer to it in terms of our physical play and our compete.”
After Colorado’s Logan O’Connor gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the late stages of the first, Tyler Steenbergen responded for the Roadrunners, tying the game 1-1 with 26 seconds left in the opening frame.
Steenbergen, set up atop Colorado’s crease, tipped a Lane Pederson shot past Spencer Martin to register his seventh goal of the campaign.
The Eagles scored a pair of goals in the opening half of the second to take a 3-1 lead with 9:12 remaining in the middle frame.
With 8:16 left on the clock in the second, Brayden Burke stuffed a loose puck into the net amidst a busy scrum atop Colorado’s crease, getting the Roadrunners back to within a goal, cutting the score to 3-2 with his eighth tally of the year.
Just over two minutes later, Lane Pederson walked in from the left half boards and beat Colorado’s Martin with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle, beating the Eagles’ netminder high to the blocker side.
Pederson’s goal, his 12th of the year, tied the game 3-3 with 5:58 to play in the second.
The Eagles reclaimed the lead, going up 4-3 when Tim McGauley scored with 2:47 remaining in the second.
While working on a power play in the final moments of the middle period, Robbie Russo stepped into a slap shot from the point, his puck finding a way through traffic to tie the game 4-4 heading into the third.
Russo’s goal, his third of the year, was also the Roadrunners’ third power play marker of the evening.
“The power play was excellent tonight,” added Varady. “I thought we created chances, we generated momentum in some early situations and I think it set us up for the rest of the game in terms of having confidence on the power play.”
The Roadrunners outshot the Eagles 9-6 in the third period, but neither team would score, sending Tucson to its ninth overtime game of the season.
Despite possessing the puck for most of the extra frame, Colorado connected for the game-winning goal with 3.8 seconds remaining to secure a 5-4 victory.
“I think the one point is obviously huge, and I think our overall effort in comparison to [Friday night] was a really big improvement,” said Jordan Gross, who registered the first three-point game of his career with three assists. “It was nice to score a couple of goals tonight, too. We had one in the last three games, so it was nice to get on the score sheet.”
Hunter Miska was pulled 31:11 into the contest; he stopped 15 of the 18 shots he faced. Adin Hill made 13 saves on 15 shots in his 33:13 of action.
Now 23-14-4-1 on the season, the Roadrunners venture out on a six-game road trip, which begins Friday night against the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 6:00 PM MST.
Photo: Chris Hook