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Good Morning, Tucson: Until Next Year

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Good morning from Tucson Arena, and good morning to the final home game of the 2017 calendar year. The evening calls for the Stockton Heat, slated for an ever-so familiar start time of 7:05 PM.
In 33 games played in their home building since the turn of the year, the Roadrunners have posted a 15-16-2-0 record. They can even things out tonight.
An optional skate it was for the team Saturday morning; the club is coming off of a 4-1 loss last night, and is now 1-3-0-0 in four meetings against the Heat this season. The Roadrunners, stymied by Jon Gillies, were held to just one goal for only the third time in 24 games.
Rebounding on home ice will be key tonight; the Roadrunners have dropped three straight games at Tucson Arena for the first time this season; their longest winless streak at home was a span of nine games (0-8-1-0) from January 25 – March 25, 2017.
Although momentarily dropping to third-place in the Pacific Division following Friday night’s defeat, the Roadrunners bounced back into second following the Texas Stars’ 3-1 loss to the San Jose Barracuda, which went final moments after things ended at Tucson Arena.
Star Wars jerseys! They will be worn tonight, and will be auctioned off after the game. Those worn by Hunter Miska, Adam Clendening, and Conor Garland can be bid on away from the arena by downloading the DASH Auction app.
During the morning skate, it was announced that defenseman Andrew Campbell had been recalled to the Arizona Coyotes, while defenseman Joel Hanley and forward Nick Merkley had been assigned to Tucson.
Campbell has dressed in all 24 of the Roadrunners’ games this season; tonight will likely be the first time the team skates without their captain.
Dylan Strome set a new franchise record when he scored the Roadrunners’ lone goal Friday night, extending his personal points streak to eight games – surpassing the club’s old record of seven games set by Brendan Perlini (11/4 - 11/27/16), Kyle Wood (12/9 - 12/28/16), Christian Fischer (12/9 - 12/28/16), and Michael Bunting (12/3 – 12/22/17).
During his eight-game run, Strome has accumulated 17 points (8G, 9A), including five (3G, 2A) in three games played against the Heat. He shared a few thoughts following Friday night’s game:
Dylan Strome, on Stockton’s goaltending strengths:
[Jon Gillies] made a lot of great saves on me and some other guys throughout the game. We played well, but we’re going to need to find a way to solve their goalies [Saturday night], because they’ve got another good guy coming out I’m sure. It’s going to be a tough game again, but I think we can do it.
Strome, on seeing the Heat for a second consecutive night:
We’ve got to execute our game plan. I actually thought we played a pretty good game [Friday night]. We didn’t have the best first period, but I thought the second and third we played pretty well, and I think we’ve just got to find a way to bury our chances. We had a lot of shots on net, and we’ve got to find a way to put those in. I think we’ll get different results if we just bear down a little more in front of the net, and hopefully we’re on the right end of things tomorrow.
More to come from Tucson Arena: