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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Roadrunners cap off tough week with win on Saturday


Tucson Roadrunners alternate captain Chris Mueller taking a faceoff against San Diego Gulls center Kalle Kossila on Friday, March 3rd in San Diego, Calif. 

The Tucson Roadrunners competed in three games this past week, but were only able to win one. The Roadrunners played at home on Tuesday in a makeup game against the San Diego Gulls, then the Roadrunners would travel to San Diego to play the Gulls on the road Friday. They wrapped up the weekend in California picking up a win against the Ontario Reign.

The Tucson Roadrunners played at home Tuesday night against the Gulls, and fell 5-3. Roadrunner defensemen Kyle Wood scored two goals and Chris Mueller picked up two assists in the game while the team went 2-5 on power plays. The Gulls went 1-4 on the power play and outshot the Roadrunners 29 to 19.

Tuesday was also the first game for new Roadrunner forwards Grayson Downing, acquired in the Martin Hanzal trade, and Jeremy Morin, acquired for Stefan Fournier. Both forwards were paired together on the third line and played a solid game splitting a couple of shots on net.

March 1 was the trade deadline in the NHL and rumors were surrounding the Roadrunners NHL affiliate, the Arizona Coyotes. There were NHL and AHL players on the trade block for the organization with no one knowing for sure if they would be moved. The only trade that went through on Wednesday saw Roadrunner forward Brendan Ranford sent to the San Antonio Rampage in exchange for former Rampage captain Joe Whitney. Whitney had 270 points in 369 AHL games played when he was traded to the Roadrunners, including 111 career goals. Whitney has appeared in five NHL games, all for the New Jersey Devils, where he has scored one goal. Whitney had 28 points this season before being traded to the Roadrunners, with 11 goals and 17 assists. 

Friday the Roadrunners traveled to Valley View Casino Center in San Diego to take on the Gulls. The Roadrunners would lose this game 4-1, but outshot the Gulls 36 to 28. The Roadrunners went 1-5 on the power play with Dysin Mayo picking up the only goal. The goal scored by Mayo was his first in his AHL career, Grayson Downing and Joe Whitney picked up their first points as members of the Roadrunners. The Roadrunners were unable to stop the offense of the Gulls, as they picked up at least one goal in every period. Both teams collected 22 minutes in penalties in the game including two five-minute fighting majors for each team. 

The Roadrunners remained in California for Saturday’s game but played at Citizens Bank Arena against the Ontario Reign. The Roadrunners were earned a hard fought 2-1 victory against the Reign going 1-3 on the power play and outshooting the Reign 39-30. Defensemen Zbynek Michalek scored his fifth goal of the year on the power play with Joe Whitney picking up his second assist of the weekend. Mitch Moroz also scored in the second period giving the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead going into the third. Ontario made a push for a comeback in the third period but, were only able to score one goal. Roadrunner goaltender Adin Hill stopped 29 of 30 shots faced. 

Roadrunner Center Chris Mueller remains the team leader in points with 47 including 36 assists. Mueller’s 36 assists puts him in third place in the entire league, 10 assists back from Kenny Agostino who is the current league leader. Joe Whitney has played in two games for the Roadrunners and has registered an assist in each of his first two games. Roadrunner forward Anthony Duclair was recalled by the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday and played with the Coyotes on Friday in Carolina. 

The Tucson Roadrunners remain out of a playoff spot in fifth place in the Pacific Division, they have a total of 52 points four behind the fourth-place Bakersfield Condors. The San Jose Barracuda remain atop the Pacific with 71 points. San Diego and Ontario sit in second and third with 68 and 66 points respectively. The Roadrunners need to be in fourth place to earn a spot in the playoffs. 

Follow Tanner Harris on Twitter.

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