While the Arizona Coyotes have gotten off to a bit of a slow start to the season, the same can not be said for the team’s AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners.
Through five games, the Roadrunners possess a 4-1-0 overall record, which now includes two dramatic, come-from-behind victories in the franchise’s first two home games at the TCC Arena.
“It’s definitely nice to get the win in those games, but we definitely need to work on our starts,” center Tyler Gaudet said after Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Stockton Heat. “We’re not going to be able to comeback from a losing situation every single time. It’s good that we got the two wins, but we need to really step it up.”
In Friday’s game, the Roadrunners trailed Stockton 3-0 just over five minutes into the game, and again 4-2 midway through the second period. But a furious comeback put Tucson up 5-4 early in the third. The Heat tied it back up at five midway through the final period, but with just over three minutes remaining, Eric Selleck knocked home the GWG, giving Tucson the 6-5 victory. This was Selleck’s second-straight GWG.
On Sunday, Stockton was able to take a 3-1 lead just before the buzzer sounded to end the second period thanks to a shorthanded breakaway.
“The guys were down,” Gaudet said of the mood in the locker room during that second intermission. “It’s easy to give up there, so you have to dig deep, and we knew we did it on Friday, so there’s a little bit of faith there to do it again. You just gotta show up and want to win to comeback from something like that.”
From there, Ryan MacInnis scored an early third period goal to cut the deficit to one. Then in the span of 47 seconds, a power play goal by Michael Bunting and an even-strength goal by Christian Fischer in the final five minutes put Tucson ahead for good.
Overall, the Roadrunner players seem to be pleased with how the game environment is playing out in the TCC through the first weekend of home games.
“It’s awesome,” explained Gaudet. “It’s exciting to be here, and the crowd was awesome, especially on Friday night in the home opener. It’s really exciting, and the guys here are excited to play here.”
“The fans are awesome,” added defenseman Jarred Tinordi. “Opening night was a blast. I’m coming from Hamilton, Ontario, and we never got too many people down there so I think it’s been great. I like seeing all the kids at the games, waiting to shake our hands and stuff. It’s cool; it’s fun.”
The Roadrunners still have three games remaining in this opening five-game homestand. On Wednesday, they welcome the Texas Stars into town. Then on Friday and Saturday, Tucson will faceoff against the Ontario Reign. All three of these games are scheduled to start at 7:05 PM local.
- The Coyotes assigned Christian Dvorak to Tucson on Monday, so he is expected to be playing for the team in these three games as well.
- Kyle Wood was named the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for October. Wood leads the team in assists (6) and points (8), and has recorded at least one point in each of the team’s five games
- Vote for goaltender Adin Hill in the Masked Madness contest
- Tucson and Ontario will likely be a battle of the top two teams in the division standings