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Game #40 Preview: Tucson vs. Bakersfield

By: Alexander Kinkopf
 
 
Game #40 – Tucson (23-12-3-1) vs. Bakersfield (23-15-2-1)
3:05 PM MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #15 Mike Dietrich, #50 Andrew Howard
Linesmen: #58 Colin Besch, #20 Brent Hooks
 
On the tail end of a quick 20-hour turnaround, the Roadrunners will complete their two-game weekend series against the Bakersfield Condors this afternoon, following their 3-1 loss Friday night at Tucson Arena.
 
Today marks the Roadrunners’ final game before the All-Star break. The Classic, which includes a Skills Competition and three-on-three Challenge, takes place January 27-28 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Tucson’s two All-Stars, defenseman Kyle Capobianco and forward Michael Bunting, will leave for the festivities immediately following today’s game.
 
Bakersfield is now officially the hottest team in the American Hockey League, their current seven-game win streak the longest among all 31 teams.
 
The result of today’s affair will decide who enters the break at second-place in the Pacific Division. The Roadrunners, holding the second slot in the Pacific Division entering the contest, will maintain their spot with a win of any kind. The Condors would leapfrog Tucson with a win in regulation.
 
 
The first-place San Jose Barracuda play at Grand Rapids at 5:00 PM MST; the fourth-place San Diego Gulls play at Texas at 6:00 PM MST.
 


THREE THINGS

ULLSTROM’S STRETCH: David Ullstrom, who set-up Giovanni Fiore’s game-opening goal last night, has been on a nice little stretch since missing January 12’s game due to injury. The veteran forward has points in four of his five games played since being sidelined, accounting for two goals and two assists, and has a total of 19 points (8G, 11A) in 23 games in what is his first season playing pro in North America since the 2012-13 campaign.
 
 
DON’T DROP TWO: The Roadrunners have lost consecutive games on home ice only once this season; a 3-2 loss to the Stockton Heat on December 29 followed by a 6-3 defeat on January 11 at the hands of the Chicago Wolves. The team enters the afternoon with a 13-6-0-0 record at Tucson Arena; earning 26 of its 50 standings points locally.
 
MISKA’S TURN: Due to the nature of today’s game being the second half of a back-to-back set, and with a less than 24-hour turnaround, Hunter Miska is presumed to get the call in net. He is coming off of a win on Monday night, his ninth of the season, stopping 21-of-24 shots faced in the Roadrunners’ 6-3 victory over the Texas Stars. Miska is 1-0-0 against the Condors this year, turning away 28-of-29 in Tucson’s 6-1 win on November 24 at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena.
 


NUMBER TO KNOW

TWO: Only two players on the Roadrunners’ roster have dressed in all 39 of the team’s games played thus far: forward Hudson Fasching and defenseman Kyle Capobianco. Six names have appeared in 28.
 


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 2:50 PM.
 
Photo: Kate Dibildox