The Tucson Roadrunners did not get to the AHL All-Star Break like they had planned. After winning five straight at home, they have now dropped five straight, including three in a row to division rival San Diego.
“We didn’t have a chance to win those games,” head coach Mark Lamb said Saturday night. “We just don’t have enough. Simple as that. Talent-wise and player-wise, we just don’t have enough to generate anything.”
This break comes at a good time obviously, and now both Kyle Wood and Christian Fischer will head to Allentown, PA to represent not only the Roadrunners, but the Pacific Division on Sunday and Monday.
“It’s gonna be a pretty cool experience,” Wood said. “I get to go with my roommate Fischer so it’s gonna be cool to go together. It was a tough weekend here, but we’re just looking forward to that now and try to get a little break in there in between as well.”
“It’s gonna be nice to meet all the guys around the league and stuff,” continued Wood. “You gotta get your mind off this last weekend, and you just go there, meet some new guys, and have some fun with it.”
Sunday night, the Skills Competition takes place at 7:30 PM ET, then the 3-on-3 tournament happens Monday night at 7 PM ET. Locally, both of these things will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Tucson duo, as they had to drive to Phoenix Saturday night to catch a flight Sunday morning.
Wood, who is known for his hard shot, wasn’t told prior to leaving Tucson Saturday night if he’d be in the Skills Competition, but it seems like he would be in the hardest shot competition at the very least.
“I’ve never had it clocked in,” he said about what he thinks his chances would be in that contest. “I don’t know how fast it is, but it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens. That’s probably gonna be one of the events I’m in, so I’m just looking forward to that and try to win it obviously.”
For Wood, the 3-on-3 tournament is different because he’s a defenseman, and that kind of game is more tailored for forwards. But he is tied for 5th among all AHL defensemen with 22 assists this year.
“We’ve played it a couple times here, and it’s pretty fun,” Wood explained about how he likes 3-on-3. “There’s a lot of action end to end, and with all the skill that’s there -- it’s obviously an All Star Game with a lot of good players playing -- so yeah, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
“It doesn’t mean much, so just try and jump in and make some plays whenever you can,” he continued. “It’s gonna be a fun time for sure.”
Other Not So Fun Times
Losers of five straight and now sitting fourth in the Pacific Division, the entire team will need this break to clear their heads and gear up for the stretch run.
“It might help us a bit just to take our minds off the game for a little bit and take a bit of a mental break,” goaltender Adin Hill explained. “Come back rejuvenated and ready to go on Thursday.”
“We’re just not getting our chances and not scoring goals,” center Chris Mueller added. “Sometimes it’s bounces, sometimes it’s effort. I thought the effort was alright, but we have to find ways to score, and guys need to bear down a little bit and play with a purpose; not just to play the game to play it and have another game under the belt.”
“We all need to pick up our games. Every single one of us.”
“It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow,” left winger Michael Bunting added about losing three straight to San Diego. “Especially with a rival, you gotta win some of these games. You can’t go 0-3. That’s going to kill us in our division, but this break is gonna be big for us. We just gotta recoup and come back strong. I think that’s five straight losses for us, so we need to figure something out.”
It should be noted that the Roadrunners have not won since the Arizona Coyotes sent down forward Anthony Duclair to “work on a few things” as general manager John Chayka said. Duclair did not look anything like the player that was in Glendale last year, and is flat-out not playing well or earning time on the ice in Tucson.
If he’s going to remain in Tucson, he’s definitely at the top of the list of guys that need to pick up their games if the Roadrunners are going to make a run at a playoff spot.
Shipping Up To Glendale
The Gem Show invades Tucson this week, which means there’s no ice for the team to play on after the All Star break. So the Roadrunners will be taking over the Coyotes’ home arena in Glendale for a couple games this Friday and Saturday before embarking on a six game, two week road trip.
“It’ll be cool to play in an NHL rink,” Hill said of those two upcoming games against Charlotte. “But other than that, it’s just another game, and our goal is to get two points.”
- Craig Cunningham was in the locker room after Saturday’s loss, talking to the guys and being part of the team as if he never left. No one else will wear the captain’s C on their sweater this year
- The team is expecting to get at least a couple of injured players back after the break. Conor Garland was injured Friday, and Laurent Dauphin was also out of the lineup each of the last three games. Eric Selleck appears to be close to returning after breaking his foot earlier in the year. Max Domi is also set to return in a couple weeks for the parent club, which could send someone like Brendan Perlini back to Tucson
- So, they did a thing called “Hungry Hungry Humans” during an intermission
- The Hub is releasing a new flavor called Roadrunner Crunch
- The Roadrunners’ next home game in Tucson is not until February 24th against the San Jose Barracuda