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Last Week Today: Road Warriors

By: Alexander Kinkopf

The Rundown:

The end of the 2017 calendar year called for a three-game swing through California, and the Roadrunners made it an absolutely outstanding farewell to the term, sweeping their way through the San Diego Gulls, Bakersfield Condors, and Ontario Reign, tacking on six standings points with three wins and improving their record away from Tucson to a tantalizing 8-2-1-1.
On Wednesday night, the club earned its second-ever regulation victory at San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, defeating the Gulls by a 4-1 score.
Friday night presented what could arguably be tabbed as the team’s greatest comeback of the season as they erased a two-goal deficit with four minutes to play in regulation, beating the Bakersfield Condors by a 5-4 score in overtime via a Dylan Strome goal. Strome (2G, 1A) and Nick Merkley (1G, 2A) finished the night with three points apiece. The club earned just its second win of the year when trailing after two periods.
The club closed out the American Hockey League’s 2017 schedule Sunday evening with a 2-1 victory over the Ontario Reign. Nick Merkley’s team-leading 15th goal of the season resulted to be the game’s winner, his fifth GWG of the year, which is tied for the league lead.
Adin Hill earned two wins during the week, stopping 50 of the 52 combined shots he faced. He currently ranks fourth among AHL goaltenders with a 2.19 GAA.
With the team finishing the year in first place, head coach Mike Van Ryn has earned the honor and the right to coach the Pacific Division at the 2018 AHL All Star Classic in Utica, New York, which is to be held January 28-29.

Where They Stand:

Record: 16-9-2-1 (.625 win %)
Pacific Division: 1st Place
Western Conference: 2nd Place
League: 8th Place

The Week That Was:

Wednesday, December 27
Roadrunners (4) at Gulls (1)
Valley View Casino Center
Friday, December 29
Roadrunners (5) at Condors (4) *OT
Rabobank Arena
Sunday, December 31
Roadrunners (2) at Reign (1)
Citizens Business Bank Arena

Up & Down

Recalls (TUC --> ARI)
  • Tuesday, December 26: Lawson Crouse
  • Thursday, December 28: Mario Kempe
Assignments (ARI --> TUC)
  • None
  • Tuesday, December 26: Sean Maguire (FW --> TUC)
  • Friday, December 29: Artur Tyanulin (FW --> TUC)
  • Friday, December 29: Grant Besse (Signed to PTO)
  • Monday, January 1: Sean Maguire (TUC --> FW)

Alumni in Action:

Lawson Crouse, on a nifty give-and-go sequence with Josh Archibald in the late stages of the Coyotes’ 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night at Pepsi Center, scored in his first game back with the NHL club on the same day as his recall from Tucson.
Christian Fischer netted his 10th goal of the season Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Gila River Arena. Brendan Perlini recorded points in all three of the Coyotes’ games played during the week, including his laser of a 10th goal of the season Sunday afternoon against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
Marek Langhamer went 2-0 for HC Kometa Brno in the Czech Extraliga during the week, picking up his first win with the club on Tuesday night, and earning his first shutout on Thursday.

Highlight of the Week:

Mike Sislo turns on the jets and flies by San Diego’s defense, walking in alone on the Gulls’ Reto Berra to score with 12:38 to play in regulation Wednesday night, scoring the Roadrunners’ fourth and final goal of the evening, providing insurance for the team’s eventual victory.

Photo of the Week:

Michael Bunting, positioned in front of the net during the first period of Sunday night’s 2-1 victory in Ontario, throws his hands in the air as he gets a first-hand look at the result that was Mike Sislo’s 10th goal of the season. (Credit: Ontario Reign)