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NEWS & STATS

Game #53 Preview: Tucson vs. Texas

By: Alex Kinkopf
 
 
Game #53 – Tucson (30-17-4-1) vs. Texas (31-21-5-3)
7:05 PM MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #17 Peter Tarnaris
Linesmen: #30 Ken Bonham, #90 Mike Sarter
 
SEEING STARS: Tonight marks the third of four meetings with the Stars this season, and the first of Texas’ two scheduled visits to Tucson Arena. The Roadrunners are playing the first of a two-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Cleveland Monsters on Sunday. The Stars are playing the first of a two-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 4-2 victory over the Iowa Wild on Wednesday.
 
 
PLAYOFF PREVIEW?: If the regular season were to end today, the Roadrunners would be paired with the Texas Stars in the first round of the playoffs – a best-of-five Pacific Division semifinal series. The Stars, currently at fourth-place in the division, are on the edge – just 0.016 above the fifth-place Stockton Heat in win percentage.
 
LIFE ALERT: Prior to their weekend series in Cleveland, the Roadrunners had failed to score on 32 consecutive power play opportunities. They were able to net four power play goals in two games against the Monsters, going a combined four-for-five on the man advantage. Texas enters the night with 26th-ranked penalty kill in the AHL, turning away 80.6% of its opponents’ power plays.
 
PROJECTED LINEUP: The team held an optional morning skate at Tucson Arena ahead of tonight’s game. Per club policy, specifics regarding the team’s lineup will not be published until 5:00 PM this evening.
 
FORWARDS
LAWSON CROUSE (67) - DYLAN STROME (91) - NICK MERKLEY (38)
MIKE SISLO (9) - CARTER CAMPER (29) - LANE PEDERSON (18)
MICHAEL BUNTING (27) - MARIO KEMPE (20) - CONOR GARLAND (8)
TYE MCGINN (16) - RYAN MACINNIS (72) - JENS LOOKE (24)
 
DEFENSEMEN
TREVOR MURPHY (28) - JOEL HANLEY (44)
DAKOTA MERMIS (43) - KYLE WOOD (3)
KEVIN EKMAN-LARSSON (7) - DYSIN MAYO (37)
 
GOALTENDERS
HUNTER MISKA (35)
MICHAEL HOUSER (32)
 
WELCOME HOME: Should they be in tonight’s lineup, Carter Camper, Trevor Murphy, and Pierre-Cedric Labrie will be making their Tucson Arena debuts. The three dressed with the team during the recent road trip, combining for eight points (2G, 6A).
 
 
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the teams’ previous meeting on February 10 at Texas’ H-E-B Center, the Roadrunners defeated the Stars, in overtime, 2-1. Dylan Strome tied the game, 1-1, with 11:24 left in regulation. 50 seconds in overtime, while working on a power play, Mike Sislo buried the game-winning goal. Adin Hill stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced in the win.
 
 
THE DEETS: “[The Stars] are a fast team; we’re both really fast teams,” Jens Looke said of tonight’s match-up after the morning skate. “I think it’s going to come down to details tonight. The team that doesn’t make mistakes will win, so I think we just have to go out there, have a good attitude, and play our game.”
 
PLAYOFF PUSH: The Roadrunners enter the evening having the second-lowest magic number (27) in the Western Conference. The Stars, on the edge of the playoff cutoff in the Pacific Division, could fall out of playoff positioning with a loss and a Stockton Heat win tonight.
 
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: You can catch tonight’s action on AHL Live. Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Tom Callahan will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson. Radio coverage begins at 6:50 PM.