Game #66 Preview: Tucson at Bakersfield
By: Alexander Kinkopf
April 10, 2019 11:17 AM
Game #66 – Tucson (33-24-5-3) at Bakersfield (39-21-3-2)
6:30 PM PST, Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, California
Referees: #78 Jeremy Tufts, #35 Guillaume Labonte
Linesmen: #62 James Parker, #84 Alec Rounds
The Roadrunners play their final regular season game as visitors tonight as they put the finishing touches on a four-game road trip - set to take on the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena, where things will get moving shortly after the assigned 6:30 p.m. start time.
This evening marks the eighth meeting between the teams this year; the Roadrunners come into the concluding head-to-head match-up with a 3-4-0-0 record against the Edmonton Oilers’ affiliate.
The Condors have lost four-straight games coming into the night, one game shy of matching their longest losing stretch of the season, a span of five games (0-4-1-0) from January 2-11.
Forward Conor Garland, assigned to the Roadrunners from the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, is expected to return to Tucson’s lineup for the first time since December 2.
The 23-year-old forward registered 18 points (13G, 5A) in 47 NHL games with Arizona, and averaged more than a point-per-game prior to that lengthy recall, recording 19 (8G, 11A) in 18 AHL games with the Roadrunners.
At evening’s outset, the Roadrunners sit one point out of the Pacific Division’s fourth and final playoff spot with tonight’s contest serving as their game in hand on the chasee Colorado Eagles.
All that’s needed for Tucson to leapfrog Colorado and reclaim its spot in the postseason picture tonight is a single point, though two would be welcomed. The only other game with relevance on this Wednesday sees the San Diego Gulls host the San Jose Barracuda, a contest scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop at Pechanga Arena San Diego.
Clinching scenarios, though none involving the Roadrunners, courtesy of the American Hockey League’s public relations department, are as follows:
POINTS AT RABOBANK: The Roadrunners are a perfect 3-0-0-0 when playing at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena this season, winning twice in regulation and once in overtime. Tucson’s success as visitors in Bakersfield is nothing new; the franchise is 9-1-1-0 all-time when playing at the Condors’ home building, pocketing 19 of a possible 22 points in their 11 total visits. The Condors are 19-10-3-0 as hosts this season, the Roadrunners 16-11-4-2 on the road.
BREAK THROUGH: Bakersfield, which owns the fourth-best goals-against average in the AHL, surrendering its opponents just 2.68 goals per game, has held the Roadrunners to one goal or less in regulation in five of the teams’ seven meetings so far this season. Three players: Giovanni Fiore, Hudson Fasching, and Brayden Burke have each scored twice against the Condors this year.
RETURN OF THE G: It’s presumed that Conor Garland will return to the Roadrunners’ lineup upon his Tuesday assignment from the Arizona Coyotes. He put forth seven multi-point performances in 19 AHL games to begin the year, though was held off the score sheet in the two he played against Bakersfield. The inaugural Roadrunner returns to the team fourth all-time in games played with the franchise (120) and eighth all-time in points registered (60).
NUMBER TO KNOW
ELEVEN: The Roadrunners have scored a total of 11 power play goals over their last 10 games to help drive the club to a 7-2-0-1 record during that stretch. Of those 10 contests, Tucson has capitalized offensively on its man advantage in seven of them.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE
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 6:15 PM.
Photo: Bakersfield Condors