Last Week Today: Two & Two
By: Alexander Kinkopf
January 07, 2019 1:44 PM
Two All-Stars, two wins.
Road series’ in the thick of the winter months, you better be resilient.
Along with staving-off travel fatigue comes the challenge of maintaining pace in a contested standings’ race and the mental and physical focus needed to stay sharp against hosts acting as desperate division opponents.
While the main goal at the AHL level always is to develop, that goal is only better pursued with winning results, points gained.
And goals were most definitely the theme for the Roadrunners Friday night, as they fired away to net their second-highest total of the season in a 7-5 win over the Stockton Heat.
Eight players registered multiple points in that win; a win that was highlighted by three power play goals, the most the team has scored in a single game this season, and in big part due to Nick Merkley, who factored in on all three of the Roadrunners’ man advantage markers with a goal and two assists.
The team followed Friday’s performance with one that entailed a bit of drama as they extended past regulation for the eighth time this season in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday night.
Kyle Capobianco’s goal 40 seconds into the extra frame sealed the Roadrunners’ win.
Calvin Pickard started and won both games played during the week, stopping a combined 56-of-62 shots faced in his first action with the Roadrunners as he plays on a conditioning assignment from the Arizona Coyotes.
Not without further recognition! The AHL announced its lineups for the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic on Thursday, which is to be held January 27-28 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Defenseman Kyle Capobianco and forward Conor Garland were selected as the Roadrunners’ two representatives.
Capobianco, the only defenseman to lead his respective team in scoring at the time of the announcement, and the current Roadrunners’ leading scorer, has earned and AHL-All Star selection for the second-straight year.
Garland, now with seven points (5G, 2A) in 15 NHL games with Arizona, was honored with his first AHL-All Star bid. The 22-tear-old forward put up 19 points (8G, 11A) in 18 games this season with the Roadrunners.
Where They Stand:
Record: 19-9-3-1 (.656 pts %)
Pacific Division: 2nd Place
Western Conference: 2nd Place
League: 4th Place
The Week That Was:
Friday, January 4
Roadrunners (7) at Heat (5)
Saturday, January 5
Roadrunners (2) at Condors (1) F/OT
Up & Down
Recalls (TUC --> ARI)
Assignments (ARI ->> TUC)
Alumni in Action:
Production was the theme of Conor Garland’s week; the 22-year-old netted the Coyotes’ first goal Friday night at Gila River Arena when he beat the New Jersey Devils’ Keith Kinkaid after intercepting a breakout pass low in the offensive zone. Garland followed that performance up on Sunday afternoon with two more goals against the New York Rangers in the Coyotes’ commanding 5-0 win.
Garland wasn’t the only Tucson alum to make noise during the week. Mario Kempe scored his second goal of the season on Sunday against the Rangers, while Christian Fischer buried his 10th on Friday night against New Jersey, which is currently the second-highest total on Arizona’s roster behind Brad Richardson’s 11.
Highlight of the Week:
Wasting little time, David Ullstrom connected to find Kyle Capobianco flying toward the net during the opening shift of overtime Saturday night at Rabobank Arena. Capobianco, in stride, controlled Ullstrom’s feed, and in fluid motion, made a quick move to his forehand to beat Shane Starrett 40 seconds into the extra frame to secure a 2-1 overtime win for the Roadrunners over the Bakersfield Condors.
Photo of the Week:
Focused in the midst of holding the blue-line, defenseman Cam Dineen exemplifies hand-eye coordination as he reaches to keep a puck in Tucson’s offensive zone Saturday night at Rabobank Arena. (Credit: Bakersfield Condors)