The Tucson Roadrunners completed their final series before the All-Star break, falling to the Chicago Wolves 4-3 Saturday night.
Tucson had defeated them Friday.
The Roadrunners now move to 23-13-2-1 on the season (49 points, 0.628 points percentage). They still hold on to first place in the Pacific Division, edging out the San Antonio Rampage (0.587 points percentage).
Tucson was the first to strike Saturday, with Mike Sislo scoring on the backside of Chicago’s goaltender while the Roadrunners were short handed.
But the Wolves would respond not too long after, scoring two goals before the end of the first period.
Although Laurent Dauphin was able to tie it back up for Tucson in the second period, Roadrunners’ Joel Hanley would be hit with a five-minute major for slashing and a game misconduct.
That five-minute major later proved to be costly as Chicago’s T.J. Tynan and Stefan Matteau would score late in the second and early in the third periods, respectively — all during the time of the penalty.
As the tensions between the teams began to grow, the Roadrunners continued to try to fight their way back into the game. Eventually, John Ramage somehow got another deflection to go into Chicago’s net to cut the deficit back to one.
But apparently, the tensions got too high and Dauphin was called for another minor penalty for goaltender interference, and was also handed a game misconduct for “abuse of officials.”
Tucson was able to kill that penalty along with Andrew Campbell’s additional slashing minor that made it 5-on-3, but all that did not matter, as the game would end with Chicago still on top.
While Chicago escaped with a mere eight penalty minutes, Tucson was hammered with 33 penalty minutes and Roadrunners head coach Mike Van Ryn was extremely critical of the officiating afterward.
“Those two definitely made their presence felt tonight,” Van Ryn said. “I don’t even know what those calls were. I just looked at them. So, I don’t even know how they come up with what they come up with, half the time.
“And that’s why I lose my mind. Like, I don’t want to lose my mind. It does nothing for your team, but I cant sit there and watch that. It’s a joke.”
Van Ryn is heading to the AHL All-Star Game in Utica, New York early Sunday morning, but pivoted back to the officiating when asked about his excitement for the festivities.
“My excitement level is not up at all right now because I’m quite upset over the fact that that’s a big game,” he said. “And you know, for two guys to decide that they’re going to dictate outcome in it... it’s not right... it’s not hockey.
“I know I’m going to get in trouble for all this stuff, but I really don’t care, because I can’t take it. It’s not right to the guys that put in the effort and work all week, and two guys decide they get emotional and they call stuff that isn’t even there.”
While a few players will be headed to the All-Star game this weekend, the remainder of the Roadrunners team will take the next few days off before taking off for what is being called the “Gem Show Road Trip.”
They will not return to the Tucson Convention Center until Feb. 17, when they take on the Bakersfield Condors.
- Nick Merkley (upper body) returned to the ice with limited minutes on Friday and did not dress on Saturday.
- Dylan Strome has had quite the silent week, leading up to the All-Star break, only recording one point in the last four games.
- Saturday’s attendance at the TCC was 6,036, which is a record-high for the Roadrunners this season
- The Roadrunners wore special Olympic themed jerseys on Saturday, which later were given to fans in attendance via raffle after the game.
Follow Rob Leano on Twitter @RobLeano1