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Game #64 Preview: Tucson at Iowa

By: Alexander Kinkopf
 
 
Game #64 – Tucson (32-23-5-3) at Iowa (34-25-7-5)
5:00 PM PST, Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Referees: #46 Brandon Schrader, #41 Conor O’Donnell
Linesmen: #63 Cameron Dykstra, #14 J.P. Waleski
 
The Roadrunners continue their four-game road trip tonight as they match-up against the Iowa Wild for the fourth and final time this regular season.
 
A 5:00 PM PST puck drop at Wells Fargo Arena - for your calendar.
 
With last night’s 5-4 win, the Roadrunners improved to 2-1-0-0 against Minnesota’s AHL affiliate this season, and are now 8-7-0-0 against teams from the Central Division. It's Pacific opponents from here on out.
 
When he’s on, he’s scary. Michael Bunting registered his third multi-goal performance of the season last night, scoring twice in a 1:50 span and going upstairs for both tallies. He’s produced handily against Iowa this year, accumulating five points (3G, 2A) in three games against the Wild.
 
 
The Coyotes announced the recall of Adin Hill this morning. Hill, who has started 24 of the Roadrunners’ 29 games played since his mid-January AHL assignment, posted a 7-5-0 record with a .901 SV% and 2.76 GAA in 13 appearances and 11 starts with the NHL club from November 25 – January 13.
 
 
The 22-year-old netminder owns a 15-12-4 record with a .911 SV% and 2.46 GAA in 32 games with Tucson this season, and earned his 50th win as a member of the Roadrunners with his 23-save performance in last night’s 5-4 victory.
 
Hunter Miska, this evening, is presumed to make his first start since March 3 - with Erik Kallgren backing up. Kallgren, the Coyotes’ 183rd overall selection from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, was signed to an ATO on Friday.
 
Not to be left out - a firm congratulations to Brady Morgan, video coach and team services coordinator, and Ryan Andrus, assistant equipment manager, who are each working their 200th professional games tonight. Both work tirelessly behind the scenes and play critical roles in maintaing the Roadrunners' day-to-day hockey operations, and both have been with the club since day one. More on #200 below.
 
Entering the night, the Roadrunners sit just one point out of a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Tucson is guaranteed to slide into the grouping’s postseason picture with a win of any kind, or an overtime/shootout loss. A point's going to do it tonight.
 
 
The third-place San Diego Gulls play on the road at the second-place San Jose Barracuda at 7:00 PM PST. With a Gulls regulation loss, the Roadrunners can move to as high as third in the standings.
 


THREE THINGS

CALLING ON HUNTER: It has been exactly one month since Hunter Miska last started a game; you’ll have to turn back the clock to March 3, a 23-save performance in a Roadrunners 2-1 loss to the Colorado Eagles. He has made one relief appearance since then, that coming on March 9 against the Ontario Reign – seeing 33:51 of action. Overall, Miska has a 9-8-4 record with a .895 SV% and 3.09 GAA in 24 games this season. The 23-year-old netminder turned away 24-of-27 shots faced in his lone start at Iowa’s Wells Fargo Arena last year, a 4-3 win.
 
WILD SKID: The Iowa Wild’s current six-game losing streak is the longest in the American Hockey League – they have allowed at least four goals to their opponents in each loss during that stretch. Iowa is 0-4-0-0 on its current five-game home stand. If the Roadrunners are to extend the Wild’s losing streak tonight, they will momentarily reclaim a playoff spot in the same building they clinched a berth in last season.
 
 
HEY, ROOKIE: Brayden Burke extended his point streak to three games last night, and has hit the score sheet in four of Tucson’s last five contests. In registering the first of his two assists last night, he became just the sixth rookie in club history to hit the 30-point mark, following the likes of Christian Fischer, Kyle Wood, Dylan Strome, Nick Merkley, and Kyle Capobianco. The 22-year-old undrafted forward has put forth six multi-point performances this season.
 


NUMBER TO KNOW

TWO HUNDRED: Tonight’s game serves as the 200th in franchise history. Through the first 199, the Roadrunners’ all-time record stands at 103-74-18-4. In total, 92 different players have worn a Tucson uniform in live action, and 24 have played with the Arizona Coyotes upon NHL recall.
 
Dakota Mermis is the leader in games played (183), Michael Bunting in goals (55), assists (54), and points (109), and Adin Hill in wins (50).
 


GAMEDAY VIDEO

 


WE’RE DOING IT LIVE

You can catch tonight’s action at Brother John’s Beer Bourbon & BBQ, the official watch party location for all Roadrunners road games during the 2018-19 season. A live telecast is available on AHLTV; Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Adrian Denny will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson, with coverage starting at 4:45 PM.
 
Photo: Iowa Wild