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Game #33 Preview: Tucson vs. Chicago

By: Alexander Kinkopf
 
 
Game #33 – Tucson (19-9-3-1) vs. Chicago (21-12-3-1)
7:05 PM PST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #9 Anthony Tapper, #41 Conor O’Donnell
Linesmen: #58 Colin Besch, #59 Rob Fay
 
In welcoming the Chicago Wolves to Tucson Arena, the Roadrunners will play their first home game of the 2019 calendar year as they take on one of the American Hockey League’s strongest clubs.
 
The Wolves, overall, are no easy task, and especially so on the road, where they’re 12-5-0-0 this year. When it comes to overall records in opposing buildings, Chicago’s mark outside of home confines is tops in the Western Conference and second-best in the league.
 
The Roadrunners are coming off two-straight wins, both of which came last weekend against the Stockton Heat (7-5 W) on Friday and the Bakersfield Condors (2-1 OTW) on Saturday.
 
Only the Atlantic Division’s Charlotte Checkers have played as few home games (14) as the Roadrunners have.
 
Calvin Pickard, who must be recalled to the Arizona Coyotes by Tuesday when his conditioning stint comes to an end, has won each of his two starts made with the Roadrunners thus far, posting a .903 SV% and a 2.98 GAA. If the 26-year-old netminder is to stay with the Roadrunners through Tuesday, he must first clear waivers.
 
Defenseman Kyle Capobianco enters the night with points in each of his last five games and leads the Roadrunners in scoring with 28 (5G, 23A), including his goal against the Wolves on December 15.
 
 
Both teams come into the evening with an identical success rate on the penalty kill at 80.4%. The Wolves have allowed 29 power play goals during 148 shorthanded instances, the Roadrunners 27 during 138 of such situations.
 


THREE THINGS

TRYING FOR TEN: Three Roadrunners players are one goal shy of hitting double-digits in that department: Adam Helewka, Hudson Fasching, and Lane Pederson each come into the night with nine goals apiece. Tucson is one of only two teams in the AHL to not have a 10-goal scorer on its roster; the Ontario Reign are the other team to be without a player that has netted more than nine goals.
 
FOR TWENTY: If the Roadrunners are to win tonight, it will serve as their 20th victory of the season – tying the fastest mark to reach that number in franchise history when the inaugural club also secured its 20th win in its 33rd game on January 18, 2017. Last year’s squad picked up its 20th win in the 34th game of the campaign on January 15, 2018.
 
THEY’VE GOT FIRE: The Wolves enter the night tied with the Charlotte Checkers for the most goals scored, 133, in the American Hockey League this season. In hitting that total through 37 games, they rank fifth in the league in scoring with an average of 3.59 buried each contest. With 111 goals through 32 games, the Roadrunners rank 11th in the AHL with a median of 3.47 scored each game.
 


NUMBER TO KNOW

FIVE: Former Roadrunner Tye McGinn will make his first return to Tucson Arena tonight after signing with the Manitoba Moose in September. In 44 games with Tucson last season, he registered 18 points (8G, 10A). McGinn was traded to Chicago last week and has yet to record a point in two games with the Wolves. He wears #5 with his current club.
 


GAMEDAY VIDEO

 


WE’RE DOING IT LIVE

Catch tonight’s action LIVE on AHLTV or join Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson as he calls the game from the Roadrunners’ flagship radio station, where coverage begins at 6:50 PM.