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Tucson tops San Jose in defensive battle, ties for division lead.

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Roadrunners face push back from Barracuda, but ultimately prevails in weekend sweep.

Photo courtesy of Tucson Roadrunners

The Tucson Roadrunners defeated the San Jose Barracuda by a score of 1-0 on Saturday, in a much more tightly contested match than Tucson’s 5-0 blowout victory just the day before. The win puts Tucson in a tie for first place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

Saturday’s game featured less quality scoring chances, more shots, a few Roadrunner breakaways and more tension. Through the first 30 minutes of play, while still scoreless, the shots were 15-11 in San Jose’s favor. It became quite obvious too that San Jose didn’t want to be messed around with after being caught by surprise.

At the tail end of the first period, San Jose’s Jacob Middleton got in a mini “scruff” with Tucson’s Michael Bunting and Adam Helewka, which prompted the referees to hand out all three players with roughing minors. Middleton was handed an additional 10-minute misconduct penalty for inciting.

The second period followed much of the first period story-line. Both teams had a significant lower shot production than the first period, and neither team had any significant scoring chance in those few shots. That could either be a testament to both team’s defense tonight, the lack of offense, or both.

Tucson finally broke the scoreless tie at 9:04 into the third period, off a wrap-around shot by Hudson Fasching that just trickled past Antoine Bibeau in slower than slow motion. Robbie Russo and David Ullstrom were credited with assists on that goal, which gives both players quite the weekend in the points column. Ullstrom has registered a point in all of the three games so far this week.

Merrick Madsen was once again the first star of the night for Tucson, stopping all of the Barracuda’s 28 shots. It became his second shutout in only three starts as an AHL goaltender. Madsen also became the first Roadrunner in team history to record back-to-back regular season shutouts.

“You can’t get shutouts by yourself,” Madsen said after the game. “Everyone out there is blocking shots and helping me out when they can. Obviously, I think I’m on a flow where things are going right, but it’s a team effort.”

Tucson returns to action next Friday in Northern California when they visit the Stockton Heat.