Game #20 Preview: Tucson at San Diego
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 05, 2018 9:57 AM
Game #20 – Tucson (11-5-2-1) at San Diego (8-8-1-1)
8:00 PM PST, Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
Referees: #48 Beaudry Halkidis, #46 Brandon Schrader
Linesmen: #7 Neil Campbell, #85 Steve Walsh
Tonight, the Roadrunners make their third visit of the season to the Valley View Casino Center before returning to Southern Arizona to begin what will be their longest home stand of the season to date, a run of four consecutive games at Tucson Arena.
It marks the fifth meeting of the year with the San Diego Gulls; the Roadrunners have been victorious in each of the teams’ previous four match-ups during the current campaign, outscoring their I-8 Border rival by a 19-12 count, winning three times in regulation and once in overtime.
Dating back to November 18 of last season, the Roadrunners have benefited from favorable results when playing at San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, earning points in six of their previous seven visits, posting a 5-1-0-1 mark during that span, including a perfect 2-0-0-0 mark this year – the latest of which a 4-3 overtime win on October 27 secured by David Ullstrom’s game-clinching tally.
The Roadrunners will be without forwards Mario Kempe and Conor Garland, and goaltender Adin Hill, all of whom are currently up in the NHL on recall with the Arizona Coyotes.
Rookie forward Brayden Burke, who's riding a three-game point streak with a total of five (3G, 2A) during that window, scored in the Roadrunners' last game against the Gulls, a 6-3 win on November 7 at Tucson Arena.
San Diego enters the night situated in last-place in the Pacific Division with a 8-8-1-1 record, good for a .500 points percentage.
MAKE IT EIGHT: Dating back to April 11 of last season, the Roadrunners have defeated the Gulls seven-straight times, four times on home ice at Tucson Arena, and three times on the road at the Valley View Casino Center. The Gulls, this season, have found more success on home ice than on the road, posting a 6-4-1-1 record when playing in San Diego. The Roadrunners are 5-3-2-1 away from Tucson Arena.
POINTS, BABY: Forward Michael Bunting (1G, 5A) and defenseman Robbie Russo (6A) lead all current Roadrunners roster players in scoring against the Gulls this season, each registering six points in four games played against San Diego. Russo has put up three multi-point performances against the Gulls while Bunting has found the score sheet in each of the teams' four meetings. Bunting is one assist shy of tying Kyle Wood (45) for second all-time in franchise history.
PLAYING HIS FINEST: In two starts against the Gulls this season, both of which have come at the Valley View Casino Center, Hunter Miska is 2-0-0 with a 2.41 GAA and a .934 SV%. He made a career-high 42 saves in the Roadrunners’ 3-2 win at San Diego on October 12. He is likely to make his second-straight start tonight with Merrick Madsen serving as back-up.
NUMBER TO KNOW
THIRTY-SIX: The Gulls allow their opponents a league-worst 36.22 shots per game, San Diego goaltenders taking on a total of 652 through 18 games played. The Roadrunners, through 19 games played, own the league’s fourth-best median of shots taken, averaging 33.11 taken per game.
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 7:45 PM.