Last Week Today: Out Of The Gate
By: Alexander Kinkopf
October 08, 2018 2:10 PM
The Roadrunners’ 24-player roster was announced on Friday upon the completion of training camp, leading immediately into the team’s season-opening game on Saturday against the San Diego Gulls at Tucson Arena.
Consisting of nine players aged 21 and under, the Roadrunners have one of the youngest groups in the American Hockey League with a median age of 22.75 years old. 14 of the names played in Tucson last year, while 10 were acquired or promoted over the summer. The group as a whole combines for 63 career NHL games played.
In front of 6,327 Saturday evening, the Roadrunners belted out a 6-4 win over the Gulls, rallying for four unanswered third period goals and overcoming an early two-goal deficit. It was the club’s first-ever opening night victory.
Five players, Robbie Russo (2A), Laurent Dauphin (1G, 1A), Lane Pederson (2A), Adam Helewka (2G), and Jens Looke (2G), registered multiple points. The team as a whole matched a franchise-high mark for goals scored in a single game.
Matteo Gennaro, one of four players (Tyler Steenbergen, Brayden Burke, Kevin Klima) to make their professional debut Saturday, netted the game-winning goal with 9:46 left in regulation, the first of his pro career.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the banners for the team’s Pacific Division Championship and Western Conference Regular Season Championship were raised to Tucson Arena’s rafters, just to the right of Craig Cunningham’s retired #14. The 2017-18 club earned the accolades by posting a 42-20-5-1 record, translating into a .662 points %.
“I think it was fantastic for all the guys who put in all of the effort and won the championship banners last year,” head coach Jay Varady said. “To have that energy [in the crowd], it was great, and [the fans] created a lot of it in the third period.”
Since their opening night loss to the Gulls last year, the Roadrunners have won five of their last six home games against San Diego.
Where They Stand:
Record: 1-0-0-0 (1.000 pts %)
Pacific Division: T-1st Place
Western Conference: 5th Place
League: 10th Place
The Week That Was:
Saturday, October 6
Roadrunners (6) vs. Gulls (4)
Up & Down
Recalls (TUC --> ARI)
Assignments (ARI --> TUC)
Alumni in Action:
Forwards Lawson Crouse, Dylan Strome, and Mario Kempe have aligned together as the Coyotes’ fourth line unit through Arizona’s first two games of the season. The trio, which combined to register 122 points (55G, 67) with the Roadrunners during the 2017-18 campaign, have totaled six shots for Rick Tocchet’s squad so far. Strome has won an impressive 68% of his draws.
Highlight of the Week:
Trailing by two goals late in the first period Saturday night, Jens Looke and Laurent Dauphin teamed up and connect on a sharp two-on-one sequence to get the Roadrunners’ to within one before the end of the opening frame. Looke, in depositing Dauphin’s return feed past a sprawling Jared Coreau, netted his second goal of the evening.
Photo of the Week:
Trevor Cheek, Hudson Fasching, and Robbie Russo join an elated Matteo Gennaro after he scores the first goal of his professional career Saturday night at Tucson Arena, potting what would be the eventual game-winner to give the Roadrunners a 5-4 lead in the third period. (Credit: Kate Dibildox)