Game #28 Preview: Tucson at Ontario
By: Alexander Kinkopf
December 31, 2017 11:40 AM
Game #28 – Tucson (15-9-2-1) at Ontario (15-12-1-1)
7:00 PM MST, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Referees: #49 Reid Anderson, #32 Beaudry Halkidis
Linesmen: #58 Matthew Jolliff, #85 Steve Walsh
YEAR’S END: Tonight marks the fourth of eight meetings with the Reign this season, and the second of four scheduled visits to Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Roadrunners are playing the final of a three-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 5-4 overtime win over the Bakersfield Condors on Friday. The Reign are completing a two-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 4-3 win over the Stockton Heat Friday night.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: The Roadrunners will see the Reign in each of their next three games, and in four of their next five. Tucson is 2-1-0-0 in their three previous meetings with Ontario this season. Ontario has earned points in seven of its past nine games, and enters the evening having won two straight.
ALL-STAR STATUS: Should the Roadrunners win tonight, and the Stockton Heat fall to the Bakersfield Condors, head coach Mike Van Ryn will be presented with the honor of coaching the Pacific Division in the 2018 AHL All Star Classic in Utica, New York.
RIDICULOUS ROOKIES: Dylan Strome (2G, 1A) and Nick Merkley (1G, 2A), with three points apiece in Friday night’s victory in Bakersfield, are once again threatening to take over the AHL’s rookie scoring leaderboard. Strome’s 30 points and Merkley’s 29 points are dangerously close to Manitoba’s C.J. Middleton’s 31.
PROJECTED LINEUP: The team did not hold a morning skate ahead of tonight’s game. Per club policy, specifics regarding the team’s lineup will not be published until 5:00 PM this evening.
TYE MCGINN (16) - DYLAN STROME (91) - NICK MERKLEY (38)
MICHAEL BUNTING (27) - LANE PEDERSON (18) - MIKE SISLO (9)
JENS LOOKE (24) - TYLER GAUDET (10) - CONOR GARLAND (8)
*RYAN KUJAWINSKI (17) - TREVOR CHEEK (39) - ARTUR TYANULIN (13) - RYAN MACINNIS (72)*
JOEL HANLEY (44) - ADAM CLENDENING (4)
DAKOTA MERMIS (43) - DYSIN MAYO (37)
KYLE CAPOBIANCO (23) - KYLE WOOD (3)
ADIN HILL (33)
HUNTER MISKA (35)
A DECEMBER TO REMEMBER: Michael Bunting has been a crucial presence to the Roadrunners’ offensive scheme during the month of December, totaling 11 points (4G, 7A) through the team’s 11 games played. Bunting strung together a seven-game points streak during this stretch, and enters the night with points in the club’s last two games. He’s totaled four assists in the Roadrunners’ three games against the Reign this season.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the teams’ previous meeting on December 16 at Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena, the Roadrunners defeated the Reign by a 6-1 score. Tucson matched a franchise record in scoring six goals, and set a new team record in recording 52 shots. 13 different players recorded a point for the Roadrunners, also a franchise record. Adin Hill stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in the win.
HILL HEATING UP: Adin Hill, who’s likely to get the call tonight following Hunter Miska’s start on Friday, has stopped 79 of a combined 83 shots faced in his last three starts. His 2.29 GAA is now sixth best among AHL goaltenders. He is a perfect 2-0-0 in two starts against the Reign this season with a 1.50 GAA and a .951 SV%.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: You can catch tonight’s action on AHL Live. Roadrunners play-by-play broadcaster Tom Callahan will have the radio call on AM 1450 Fox Sports Tucson. Radio coverage begins at 6:45 PM.