The Tucson Roadrunners enter the 2020’s off right with an exciting 5-1 win over the San Jose Barracuda on Friday night.
From the surface, it would appear Tucson dominated the entire game, but instead the ice was tilted into San Jose’s favor through the first 30+ minutes. The Barracuda were the first to break through, scoring once 11:30 into the first period. Tucson was also out skated through many shifts and were out-shot 18-5 through 20 minutes and 26-12 after 40 minutes.
“I thought we started really slow out of the gates” Roadrunners coach Jay Varady said after the game. “It was not the period we wanted to play. I think the start of the second we started to push a little. And the end of the second and third period was a little more the game we wanted to play.”
Tucson finally found their answer inside the final minute of the second period, as Jordan Gross took a one-time feeder on a power play from Andy Miele and Robbie Russo, rocketing a shot past Josef Korenar. From that point on, Tucson took control of the game.
The Roadrunners flipped the script on the shot-count, taking 13 shots, as compared to San Jose’s 7. But it didn’t stop there, Tucson would score 4 more goals, including two empty net goals in the final 3 minutes.
Varady shared he thought the third period team effort was closer to the “team identity” in quite a while. “But, I don’t think it can be 20 minutes, it’s a 60 minute thing that we have to find a way to do it the entire time,” he added.
Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov received first star honors for his 38-save effort on his sixth straight start.
“I thought (Ivan) was outstanding and gave us the chance to win us a hockey game tonight because of his effort over the whole game but especially in the first,” Varady said.
Win the win, Tucson improves to 25-7 on the season, holding on to the top spot in the American Hockey League as they approach the half-way point of the season.
Tucson will host San Jose once more Saturday night. The puck drops at 7:05 PM.