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Roadrunners' offense quiet in Rockford as lengthy trip begins with a loss

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Photo: Nathan Vestal/Rockford IceHogs          
The Roadrunners dropped their fifth-straight game in a 3-1 loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Friday night while making their first-ever visit to the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Two players, Emil Pettersson and Jeremy Gregoire, made their team debuts after being acquired in the morning as part of the two deals struck between the Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators organizations.
Defenseman Jalen Smereck dressed to make his season debut, playing in his fifth-career AHL game.
Offensively, the Roadrunners were held in check, scoring only one goal for the fourth time in their last five games.
“We had a lot of opportunities tonight and we’ve got to cash in on those,” said Lane Pederson. “When you’re having a tough time scoring goals you need to get to the dirty areas, get around the blue paint and bang away. Teams are too good, we can’t expect to score the pretty, nice, fancy goals every time. We’ve got to get our nose a little dirty and we need a better effort tomorrow night.”
The IceHogs, who entered the night with five consecutive wins, buried the evening’s first goal in the late stages of the opening frame, Anthony Louis giving Rockford a 1-0 lead.
Just over six minutes into the second, Luke Johnson upped the IceHogs’ lead to 2-0.
Tucson clawed back to cut Rockford’s lead in half when Pederson jammed a rebound from a Nick Merkley wraparound attempt past Kevin Lankinen to get the Roadrunners on the board, making the score 2-1 with 4:39 left to play in the second period.
For the 21-year-old, it was his second goal in as many games and his fourth point in his last three. He surpassed his rookie scoring total with his team-leading 13th tally, and now has 27 points on the year.
In the latter stages of the third, Rockford would capitalize during a five-on-three power play, taking a 3-1 lead with 4:51 remaining in regulation, the night’s eventual final score.
Overall, the Roadrunners found themselves shorthanded on six separate occasions.
“We started building momentum, started putting shifts together, and then we’d find ourselves back in the box,” Pederson added. “We need more discipline tomorrow night so we can look at these gives five-on-five.”
Adin Hill stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced, suffering his sixth loss of the season.
The teams will meet again on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 5:00 PM MST.
Photo: Nathan Vestal/Rockford IceHogs