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Game #51 Preview: Tucson at Colorado

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #51 – Tucson (25-19-4-2) at Colorado (26-22-3-1)
7:05 PM MST, Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, Colorado
Referees: #21 Chris Pontes, #65 Alex Normandin
Linesmen: #34 Robert Keltie, #38 Chris Wilson
The Roadrunners will play what is undoubtedly their most important game of the season to-date tonight when they begin a two-game back-to-back weekend series against the Colorado Eagles at the Budweiser Events Center. Puck drop scheduled for 7:05.
The team’s weekend trip marks its final regular season stop in Loveland, Colorado, where they’ve posted a 1-3-0-0 record thus far. Overall, the Roadrunners have gone 2-5-1-0 against the Colorado Avalanche’s affiliate this year.
Both clubs enter the night tied with 56 standings points apiece, but the Roadrunners have maintained fourth-place in the Pacific Division by having an upper hand in the first tiebreaker, regulation and overtime wins in totality. Tucson’s 24 regulation and overtime victories bests Colorado’s current mark of 22.
Defenseman Jason Demers, assigned to the Roadrunners for conditioning on Saturday morning, is joining the team in Colorado and expected to play as soon as tonight. The Coyotes’ defenseman has played in 103 career AHL games, all with the Worcester Sharks from 2008-10.
The Roadrunners will be without forward Hudson Fasching tonight, who was recalled to the Coyotes on Friday evening. Fasching accumulated 25 points (12G, 13A) in 48 games with Tucson this season.
Should the Roadrunners lose tonight, they will fall out of playoff positioning for the first time since the end of their inaugural season -- April 15, 2017.
The Eagles are coming off of a pair of home wins earlier this week, both against the San Antonio Rampage, winning by a 5-3 count on Tuesday night and a 6-0 count on Wednesday.


CENTURY MARK: Michael Bunting, the Roadrunners’ all-time leader in points, is just one shy from registering his 100th with the team. He has been credited with 47 goals and 52 assists in 168 games played with the club, the second most only to Dakota Mermis’ 170. In total, the 23-year-old forward has racked up 124 points (58G, 66A) in 231 career American Hockey League games. He has scored three goals in four games played against tonight’s opponent, the Eagles, this season.
HERE TO STOP: Goaltender Adin Hill has started 12 of the Roadrunners’ 16 games since being re-assigned to the AHL from the Arizona Coyotes in mid-January. The 22-year-old has been nothing short of magnificent in those starts, flaunting a 1.91 GAA and a .935 SV%, doing what he can to uphold a Roadrunners offense that has had trouble scoring of late. Hill last started a game in Colorado on January 19, when he stopped all 21 shots faced to earn the ninth shutout of his professional career in Tucson’s 2-0 win over the Eagles.
IN THEIR HOUSE: The Eagles have posted a 16-7-2-1 record at the Budweiser Events Center this season, and have won three-straight games on home ice. Their 35 home points earned ranks as the second most in the Pacific Division. If Colorado grabs an early lead at home, they run with it; the Eagles are 7-1-0-1 when leading after one period at the Budweiser Events Center this season.


ONE HUNDRED NINETEEN: It has been 119 games since the Roadrunners were last out of a qualified playoff position in the Pacific Division. With a loss of any kind tonight, the team will fall to fifth-place.




You can catch tonight’s action at Brother John’s Beer Bourbon & BBQ, the official watch party location for all Roadrunners road games during the 2018-19 season. A live telecast is available on AHLTV; Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson, with coverage starting at 6:50 PM.
Photo: Colorado Eagles