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Roadrunners secure series, advance with shutout victory over San Jose

By: Alexander Kinkopf
Boosted by Adin Hill’s second-straight shutout performance, the Roadrunners defeated the San Jose Barracuda by a 3-0 score Friday night at Tucson Arena, clinching the series to advance to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The Roadrunners’ series win was the first by an Arizona Coyotes AHL affiliate since the Springfield Falcons surpassed the Hartford Wolf Pack in the 2003 Eastern Conference Qualifying round.
“It feels great,” Andrew Campbell said of the team moving on. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished to this point, it’s a big step for this group and for this organization. We haven’t been into the second round in an awful long time in this organization, so with that being said, it’s just the beginning. There are still three more rounds to go, and we’re awfully hungry to keep it going.”
Hill stopped all 25 shots fired his way, becoming the first AHL goaltender to post back-to-back playoff shutouts since Petr Mrazek did so with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2013. He has gone 122:30 minutes without allowing a goal and has five shutouts in his last 11 starts.
“I feel like I’m playing well, like I’m seeing the puck well, but the team in front of me is doing a great job boxing guys out and limiting other teams’ chances, so it helps me out,” Hill said after the win.
Following a scoreless opening frame, Mario Kempe got Tucson’s offense churning less than five minutes into the second period when his shot from the top of the slot squeaked through the pads of Antoine Bibeau and into the net, giving the Roadrunners a 1-0 lead.
In the third, Conor Garland padded the Roadrunners lead with 15:07 left to play when he fought for positioning in front of San Jose’s net and shoveled home a rebound from an Andrew Campbell point shot, scoring his first-career playoff goal to put Tucson up 2-0.
Mario Kempe added an empty net goal with 59.9 seconds left on the clock to give the Roadrunners a 3-0 lead.
Andrew Campbell finished the night with two assists, registering multiple points for the second straight game, totaling four (1G, 3A) during that span. He amassed six points (2G, 4A) in 60 regular season games.
“In all honesty, I think these last two games have been the best two games I’ve seen him play,” Head Coach Mike Van Ryn said of the team captain. “That’s what you need out of your veterans, is for them to rise and show our young guys the way. We’ve got some talented young hockey players, but this is playoff hockey, and pro hockey is new for them, so we need to really rely on those guys, and [Campbell] has been unbelievable. He’s so good with these young guys, with the whole team, and I’m happy to see him get rewarded and get some points.”
Dylan Strome is now tied with Syracuse’s Matthew Peca for the league lead in playoff points. Mario Kempe is now tied with Grand Rapids’ Ben Street for the league lead in playoff goals scored with four.
The Roadrunners will begin their best-of-seven Pacific Division Finals series against the Texas Stars Wednesday night at Tucson Arena, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:05 PM.
Photos courtesy: Kate Dibildox & Chris Hook