Good Morning, Tucson: Before Four
By: Alexander Kinkopf
April 27, 2018 9:58 AM
Good morning from Tucson Arena, where the thrill of Wednesday night’s exceptional home playoff debut still lingers in the air.
Members of the team took to the ice shortly before 10:00 for a morning skate ahead of Game 4 of their Pacific Division semi-final series with the San Jose Barracuda, which is scheduled for a 7:05 PM start.
Shutout central! Adin Hill, in blanking the Barracuda in Game 3, now has four shutouts in his last 10 starts. He is one of three goalies to earn a shutout in the playoffs this year, the other two Texas’ Mike McKenna and Grand Rapids’ Jared Coreau.
Triple-threat? Dylan Strome, who had seven three-point performances during the regular season, tacked on a trio of assists in Wednesday night’s win. He enters the night third in the league in playoff scoring with a total of six points (3G, 3A).
If the Roadrunners are to clinch and advance tonight, they will be the first Arizona Coyotes American Hockey League affiliate to win a Calder Cup Playoffs series since 2003, when the Springfield Falcons defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack (2-0) in a best-of-three Eastern Conference Qualifying round.
You’ll have to track back to 1997 for the last time a Coyotes AHL club won more than just a qualifying round – which are no longer part of the league’s postseason format. The Springfield Falcons defeated the Portland Pirates (3-2) in the New England Division semi-final and the Providence Bruins (4-1) in the New England division final. The Falcons would eventually fall to the Hershey Bears (3-4) in the Conference final.
The Roadrunners have dropped consecutive games only once since Christmas (Feb. 24 vs. SA, Feb. 28 at GR). San Jose must earn back-to-back wins to win the series. Only two teams, the Stockton Heat and San Diego Gulls, have been able to beat the Roadrunners on consecutive occasions this year.
Mike Sislo drove to the net and redirected a Dakota Mermis shot past San Jose’s Antoine Bibeau in Game 3 to net his fourth-career Calder Cup playoff goal, giving the Roadrunners a 4-0 lead in the team’s 6-0 victory. He shared a few thoughts following the morning skate:
Mike Sislo, on Wednesday night’s Game 3 victory:
I thought it was a good effort by our whole team. We’ve talked about wanting to play a 60-minute game all year long, and I thought from start to finish everybody was competing and playing hard, so that was good to see.
Sislo, on what he expects from a San Jose team that is fighting to stave-off elimination:
It’s the playoffs, every game is important. Especially with where the series is at now, we know we’re going to get their best, so we want to prepare well and be ready to go right from the start.
Sislo, on the biggest factors leading into tonight’s game:
I think we want to get off to a fast start, play quick, play hard, and again do it from start to finish. If we can play harder for longer than them, I think things will look good.
Sislo, on acknowledging the fact that a win will advance the team to the second round:
I think a simple mindset is important, I think we just want to focus on what we need to do on the ice, and hopefully the results will take care of themselves.
More to come from Tucson Arena.