Game #18 Preview: Tucson vs. Ontario
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 05, 2017 12:53 PM
Game #18 – Tucson (10-4-2-1) vs. Ontario (9-8-0-1)
7:05 PM MST, Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Referees: #34 Stephen Reneau, #10 Terry Koharski
Linesmen: #30 Fred Hudy, #24 Eric McDonald
ON A TUESDAY: Tonight marks the second of eight meetings with the Reign this season, and the second of Ontario’s four scheduled visits to Tucson Arena. The Roadrunners are playing the final of a five-game home stand; the Reign are playing the second of a five-game road trip. Both clubs are coming off of a meeting Sunday night in which the Roadrunners lost, 4-2.
INTO A WALL: The Reign are 29th in the AHL in scoring this season, but they haven't been giving much. Ontario has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of their last 12 games, posting a 9-2-0-1 record during that stretch. Despite firing away for 40 shots Sunday night, the Roadrunners could only beat Ontario’s Jack Campbell on two occasions. Can they break through the Reign’s stingy defense tonight?
PROJECTED LINEUP: The team held a pregame morning skate ahead of tonight’s game at Tucson Arena. Per club policy, specifics regarding the team’s lineup will not be published until 5:00 PM this evening.
LAWSON CROUSE (67) - MARIO KEMPE (20) - NICK MERKLEY (38)
MIKE SISLO (9) - LANE PEDERSON (18) - JENS LOOKE (24)
MICHAEL BUNTING (27) - TYLER GAUDET (10) - MICHAEL LATTA (46)
TYE MCGINN (16) - RYAN MACINNIS (72) - CONOR GARLAND (8)
ANDREW CAMPBELL (2) - DYSIN MAYO (37)
JOEL HANLEY (44) - ADAM CLENDENING (4)
DAKOTA MERMIS (43) - KYLE WOOD (3)
ADIN HILL (33)
HUNTER MISKA (35)
DON’T MAKE IT A STREAK: For the first time this season, the Roadrunners have lost consecutive games in regulation. “Two [losses] in a row, we’ve got to bounce back, we’ve got to get back into the win column. That’s obviously a main focus for us,” Michael Bunting said following the team’s morning skate.
MISSING MERKLEY: Nick Merkley was held off of the scoresheet for just the fifth time this season on Sunday evening. Mario Kempe has replaced Dylan Strome on the team’s first line, which includes Lawson Crouse on Merkley’s opposite wing. Can Merkley and the team’s first line trio chip in offensively tonight?
HANDY HANLEY: Joel Hanley, assigned to the Roadrunners Tuesday morning after clearing waivers, is back with the team and is expected to be in the lineup tonight. In nine games with the Roadrunners, Hanley has registered four assists. His presence, with Kyle Capobianco’s recall to the Coyotes, is an important one to the team’s defensive corps.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the teams’ first meeting of the season on Sunday night, the Roadrunners fell to the Reign by a 4-2 score. Kyle Capobianco and Jens Looke scored for the Roadrunners; Michael Bunting registered assists on both of the goals. Ontario’s Jack Campbell made 38 saves.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: You can catch tonight’s action on AHL Live. Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Tom Callahan, along with color commentator Tim Gassen, will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson. Radio coverage begins at 6:50 PM.