Chaput's two spur Roadrunners to a 5-2 victory over Iowa
By: Alexander Kinkopf
March 19, 2019 9:49 PM
Photo: Kate Dibildox
The Roadrunners continued to find the back of the net Tuesday night, defeating the Iowa Wild by a 5-2 score at Tucson Arena.
The victory extended the Roadrunners’ win streak to three games, while snapping their seven game skid on home ice – picking up two points in front of home fans for the first time since January 23.
Michael Chaput, who arrived with the team amidst its slump at home, had a direct hand in Tuesday’s triumph, netting Tucson’s first two goals of the evening.
“I know when I came here, the guys were talking that it’s been like five or six games that they hadn’t won at home, so it’s nice to get one here now,” said Chaput. “It’s good for our momentum, our attitude, and for staying positive to make that playoff push.”
With the win, the Roadrunners are now seven point out of the Pacific Division’s final playoff spot with three games in hand on the fourth-place Colorado Eagles.
The team’s power play unit has been on a tear, netting another two goals on the man advantage tonight – giving them a total of five in their last two games.
“I liked our discipline tonight, we were able to get on the power play and create some chances, get some goals early in the game,” said head coach Jay Varady. “Our energy was good for the most part all night.”
Iowa got on the board first, the Wild taking a 1-0 lead just under five minutes into the game.
With 6:43 to play in the opening frame, Chaput shoveled home a puck from in close after receiving a pass from Nick Merkley from behind the net, tying the game 1-1.
For Chaput, it was his first goal at Tucson Arena.
Just over two minutes later, Chaput struck for his second of the night, beating Andrew Hammond with a shot to the glove side, banking his puck off the far post and in to give the Roadrunners a 2-1 lead heading into the second.
He now has five points (3G, 2A) in five games since joining Tucson’s roster.
Michael Bunting extended the Roadrunners lead, and his goal scoring streak, upping Tucson’s scoreboard advantage to a 3-1 count when he redirected a Robbie Russo shot into the net from the top of the crease four minutes into the second.
Bunting now has goals in four consecutive games, and is tied with Lane Pederson for the team lead in that department with 16.
With 3:20 remaining in the middle frame, Hudson Fasching powered his way to the front of Iowa’s net after winning a puck battle in the corner, depositing a shot high to the far side to give the Roadrunners a commanding 4-1 lead.
Fasching’s goal, his 13th of the season, gives him a new career high.
Brayden Burke capped of the Roadrunners’ scoring when he put the finishing touches on a two-on-one sequence after receiving a cross-ice feed from Fasching, making the score 5-1 with 12 minutes left to play in regulation.
The Wild would add a goal with 10 seconds left.
Four players finished the night with multiple points: Nick Merkley (2A), Hudson Fasching (1G, 1A), Michael Chaput (2G), and Michael Bunting (1G, 2A).
“Anytime you keep winning your confidence keeps growing,” noted captain Dakota Mermis. “If you put together three wins like this, two on the road and then one here at home, that just builds your confidence moving forward.”
The teams will meet again on Wednesday night at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.
Photo: Kate Dibildox