Roadrunners eliminated in 3-2 overtime loss to Texas
By: Alexander Kinkopf
May 11, 2018 8:45 PM
Joel L’Esperance’s goal at the 8:43 mark of the first overtime Friday night eliminated the Roadrunners from the Calder Cup playoffs, his rebound marker securing a 3-2 win for the Stars, Texas taking the series in five games.
A remarkable season for Tucson has come to an end.
“I’m proud of our guys and for how hard they worked, all year they pushed themselves, and we were a young team for a majority of the season,” Head Coach Mike Van Ryn said. “I thought our guys got better and they pushed themselves to get better, and it’s unfortunate. I thought we were good enough to go deeper.”
Texas netted the opening goal for the fourth straight game when Colin Markison, free of coverage, tucked a rebound past Adin Hill upon following a rush sequence to give the Stars a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the contest.
Late in the first, and as the Roadrunners operated during their second power play of the evening, Lawson Crouse shoveled a backhand shot past Mike McKenna from point-blank range after receiving a pass from Carter Camper.
Crouse’s goal, his second of the playoffs, tied the game 1-1.
The teams traded goals in a 1:08 minute span late in the second period, the first coming off the stick of Texas’ Travis Morin, who beat Adin Hill with a shot high to the short side from the right circle.
Moments later, and while shorthanded, Ryan MacInnis joined a rush, received a pass from Trevor Murphy, and powered his way in to beat McKenna with a shot high to the glove side, tying the score 2-2.
After a scoreless third period, the teams extended to overtime for the third time in the series.
Just over eight minutes into the extra frame, while stringing together a lengthy bout of possession in the Roadrunners’ zone, Joel L’Esperance drove to the net and jammed home a rebound from a Samuel Laberge point shot while Adin Hill played without a stick.
“Their goalie played well, we couldn’t really solve him, we had lots of chances, we had lots of Grade-A’s, we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Van Ryn added. “We’ve been able to find the back of the net all year, and some guys had a tough time this series and that’s what happens, and that’s why you need other guys to rise. Our guys worked, they worked hard.”
Adin Hill stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced in the overtime loss.
“A lot of the bounces didn’t work out in our favor, they just all seemed to favor the other team, but bounces happen and you’ve got to be able to live with them, whether they’re with you or against you,” Hill said. “That’s hockey sometimes.”
The Roadrunners will hold exit meetings in the coming days. The team finished the year with a combined record of 46-25-5-1.