The Tucson Roadrunners (23-11-3-1) continued through their mid-season madness with another 4-0 win over the Texas Stars (21-16-3-2) on Wednesday night. The win puts the Roadrunners on a three-game winning streak, and holding on as the third-best team in the AHL (points percentage).
“I thought we got out to a pretty good start,” Roadrunners coach Jay Varady said. “We managed pucks pretty well for the first period and got away away from it for a little bit, but it was enough to hang on.”
Tucson came right out of the gates with plenty of simple chances. Although they left the ice after the first period with only 9 shots on net, they had the 3-0 lead. It took only 11:35 into the period for Texas to decide to replace Landon Bow with Philippe Desrosiers.
Roadrunners goaltender Adin Hill, on the other hand had a perfect night, setting aside 39 shots from Texas. Plenty of Hill’s stops proved why he is touted as a top goaltender in the league. Hill officially records a personal back-to-back shutout, dating back to his 21-save shutout last Saturday in Colorado.
“I feel good, I’m seeing the puck well and trying to control my rebounds when I can,” Hill said after the game. “But, once again, the guys in front of me have done a great job in those two games limiting the other teams’ chances, clearing any pucks that have been in front and boxing guys out. They’ve done a great job.”
The first goal by the Roadrunners came just 5:48 into the first period as Cam Dineen took a shot from the face-off circle that oddly trickled in past Bow. Video replay would show Dineen’s shot was deflected off a skate in the slot that redirected the puck right into the net. When asked what he saw on his goal, Dineen said he was trying to go for a pass that somehow made its way in.
“Looke gave a nice pass to me,” Dineen said. “I just froze the guy at the point and walked down and there was a lot bodies in front so i just threw it in to the middle and it happened to go in.
“We actually work on a drill with (assistant coach) John Slaney with bouncing (the puck) off things in front of the net to get deflections, so it kind of just worked out funny that way.”
Micheal Bunting would a similar shot just five minutes later, just a little further out from the circle, scoring past Bow to the net and giving the Roadrunners the early 2-0 lead. Bunting’s goal would be his 11th of the season, and his fifth goal since returning from his recall with the Arizona Coyotes.
Bow’s night was done immediately after Brayden Burke attempted another wrist shot from nearly the exact same spot as the previous two shots.
After Bow was pulled in favor of Desrosiers, the Stars appeared to have picked up their defensive game a bit. That didn’t stop Tucson from registering 30 shots on net.
In an interesting decision, Texas’ coach Derek Laxdal elected to pull Desrorsiers for the extra attacker with five minutes remaining in regulation.
“I think there’s some numbers that would support pulling a goalie at five minutes,” Varady said. “It’s a situation they wanted to push, a three-goal lead, and they did a good job with it. They were in our zone for extended periods of time, right up until the end.”
With just 14.5 seconds remaining, Hudson Fasching found a short-handed turnover opportunity and found the empty net to give the Roadrunners the ultimate 4-0 victory.
The Roadrunners return to action on Friday and Saturday, as they host the Bakersfield Condors.