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Game #38 Preview: Tucson vs. Texas

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Game #38 – Tucson (22-11-3-1) vs. Texas (21-15-3-2)
7:05 PM MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #29 Troy Paterson, #43 Mitch Dunning
Linesmen: #53 Bevan Mills, #58 Colin Besch
The Roadrunners host the Texas Stars for the final time this regular season, looking to secure another two points following their overpowering 6-3 win on Monday evening against Dallas’ NHL affiliate.
The Stars are putting the finishing touches on their current five-game road trip, a trip in which they’ve struggled mightily, going 0-4-0-0 thus far. Texas has lost each of its last seven games in opposing buildings (0-6-1-0).
There is a strong chance that goaltender Adin Hill returns to action at Tucson Arena for the first time since November 21. Re-assigned to the Roadrunners last Monday, January 14 from the Arizona Coyotes, Hill has appeared in two AHL games since, stopping 47 of the 51 shots he faced, and is coming off of a 21-save shutout performance on Saturday night against the Colorado Eagles.
With both the first-place San Jose Barracuda and third-place San Diego Gulls idle tonight, the Roadrunners have a chance to inch closer to the top of the Pacific Division and create some separation from their I-8 Border rival.
The Bakersfield Condors, currently situated at fourth-place in the division, host the fifth-place Colorado Eagles at 7:30 PM MST.


PER-GAME PACE: Forward Nick Merkley, who was one of three Roadrunners to finish Monday’s win with three points in registering three assists, is now back to producing at a point-per-game pace. The second-year winger now has 14 points (4G, 10A) in 14 games played since returning to the team’s lineup on December 12.
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP: Michael Bunting is on some sort of tear since returning from his most recent NHL recall. In four games back, he’s registered seven points (4G, 3A), and has scored goals in three consecutive contests. The fourth-year pro has 19 points (7G, 12A) in his last 16 AHL games played, and is sitting on a total of 25 (10G, 15A) on the year.
GETTING EVEN: The Roadrunners will look to climb to an even .500 against Central Division opponents tonight with a win over the Stars. Entering tonight’s affair with a 3-4-0-0 mark against Central teams, Tucson is 1-1-0-0 against the Rockford IceHogs, 1-3-0-0 against the Chicago Wolves, and 1-0-0-0 against the Stars.


ONE-HUNDRED: Forward Lane Pederson will play in his 100th professional game tonight. All 99 of his games played have come in a Roadrunners uniform, including 63 during his rookie campaign. He enters the night with 48-career points to his name; 23 goals and 25 assists.




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.