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Good Morning, Tucson: Bear With Us

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Good morning from Tucson Arena, and good morning to the quarter-mark of the season, which the Roadrunners will hit when they host the Ontario Reign tonight at 4:05 PM.
Doing without a familiar start time, both the Roadrunners and Reign will also do without a morning skate.
The five-game home stand continues; tonight is the fourth installment. The Roadrunners own the second-best record on home ice in the AHL with a 7-2-1-0 mark, behind only Manitoba’s 7-1-1-1 record at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
The team is coming off what is its longest hiatus from game play this season – a stretch of seven days. The club’s previous affair coming in the form of last Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Stockton Heat.
Shake off the rust. The Reign are all right.
Ontario comes to town with an 8-8-0-1 mark, situated at fifth-place in the Pacific Division. Prior to having lost in heartbreaking fashion to the San Diego Gulls Friday night when Giovanni Fiore scored the game-winning goal with less than three seconds left in regulation, the Reign had won five-straight games.
After losing their first six contests of the season, the Reign have earned points in nine of their last 11 (8-2-0-1).
Tonight marks the Roadrunners’ first game without Dylan Strome since his recall to the Arizona Coyotes a week ago today. Strome netted his first NHL goal last night, skating into a gorgeous Christian Fischer feed as he shadowed a marvelous zone entry, beating New Jersey’s Keith Kinkaid through the five-hole. It’s a must-watch:
It was almost a year ago today when Zbynek Michalek whistled home a shot from the left point past Ontario’s Jack Campbell for the first ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ goal in franchise history on December 9, 2016.
Who gets the goal this year? "Hopefully I can get mine this weekend," Michael Bunting said jokingly Wednesday.
Earlier in the week, defenseman Dakota Mermis and forward Lane Pederson shared quick thoughts on the Teddy Bear Toss:
Dakota Mermis, on Teddy Bear Toss’ community efforts:
Anytime you’re doing something for a cause it’s something special, and it really brings out the best in everyone, and it really brings people together too, which I think is a great thing to have around the holidays.
Lane Pederson, on the Teddy Bear Toss experience:
It’s a lot of fun. It makes for a little pause in the game, but as long as you’re winning it’s usually pretty fun. Everyone in the locker room usually jokes before and says they’re going to get the goal.
More to come from Tucson Arena.