Game #25 Preview: Tucson at Chicago
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 15, 2018 9:31 AM
Game #25 – Tucson (15-6-2-1) at Chicago (13-9-2-1)
6:00 PM PST, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Referees: #39 Brandon Blandina, #2 Jarrod Ragusin
Linesmen: #86 Riley Bowles, #27 Mike Daltrey
Situated in the Northeast corner of Illinois, the Roadrunners are prepared to make their third-ever visit to Rosemont’s Allstate Arena to play the first of four scheduled games against the Chicago Wolves this season to begin a two-game-in-20-hours back-to-back weekend set.
This marks the furthest east the Roadrunners will travel this regular season, 1,748.4 miles between Tucson Arena and the Wolves’ home since 1994, to be exact.
Speaking of the Wolves’ home, they haven’t been particularly great playing locally this season, posting a 4-5-2-1 record at Allstate Arena, the Roadrunners entering the evening with a 6-3-2-1 mark as visitors.
The Roadrunners are coming off of their first shutout loss of the season, a 2-0 falling to the Colorado Eagles Wednesday night, while the Wolves are coming off of their first shutout win of the campaign, a 4-0 victory over the Rockford IceHogs last Saturday.
Chicago has won three straight games to rebound from a run of five consecutive losses (0-4-1-0) from November 24 – December 2.
Tonight begins the Roadrunners’ third four-game road trip of the season. They have four on their 2018-19 calendar, the last coming from April 2-10. The team’s longest stretch away from home will come in the form of six games from February 8-20.
The Roadrunners have earned points in four consecutive road games (2-0-2-0) dating back to their 6-1 win over the Bakersfield Condors on November 24.
MERKS FOR TWO: Nick Merkley returned to the Roadrunners’ lineup Wednesday night to play in his first game since March 20 of last season. “I thought he was good, he looked like he was right in the swing of things, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with him,” head coach Jay Varady said. Merkley, last season, scored his second pro goal on October 22, 2017 against the Wolves at Allstate Arena – shorthanded with 1:48 to play – to send the game to overtime.
DE-FENSE: Chicago enters the evening third overall in the AHL in scoring, averaging 3.84 goals per game on its opponents, totaling 96 in 25 games played. They’ve scored at least three in each of their last five contests. Tucson, however, is allowing less than three per game this season, surrendering an average of 2.96 through 24 contests.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: Hunter Miska earned his first professional win on October 21, 2017 in at Chicago’s Allstate Arena, making 26 saves to help the Roadrunners to a 4-3 win over the Wolves. Miska enters the weekend having won each of his previous three starts, stopping a combined 86-of-90 shots faced for a .933 SV% and a 2.00 GAA during that run.
NUMBER TO KNOW
NINETEEN: Kyle Capobianco has quickly risen to the top of the Roadrunners’ current roster scoring ranks with 19 points (2G, 17A) on the year. He is 10th among all AHL defensemen in scoring with those numbers; his 17 assists the fourth-highest total among all blue-liners in the league.
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 5:45 PM.