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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Roadrunners face the Gulls for last time with season on the line

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Roadrunners defensemen Kyle Wood shoots the puck at the San Diego Gulls goaltender on February 28th. 

The Tucson Roadrunners look to close out the 2016-17 home season with two wins over the San Diego Gulls. The Roadrunners have a 1-6-0 record against the Gulls in seven games played this season, with the only win coming in a shootout.

San Diego currently sits at second in the Pacific division, and have already clinched a playoff spot with 81 points on the season. The Gulls still have a chance of catching the first-place San Jose Barracuda who currently have 85 points.

The Roadrunners are looking to find a way back into the playoff picture, but currently sits in seventh place in the division. Bakersfield holds the last playoff spot with 66 points, seven points ahead of the Roadrunners.

Roadrunners alternate captain Chris Mueller played for the Gulls last season where he tallied 57 points, and in Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Rampage Mueller tied that number with a two-point night. Mueller’s career best in points was 60 with the Milwaukie Admirals and with seven games left this season there is plenty of opportunity to beat that number.

Mueller also had a milestone night against the Rampage when he collected his 400th career point in the AHL. Mueller has 166 goals and 234 assists in 571 games played in the AHL.

“No I didn’t have any clue; my father gave me a text, but I don’t keep track of that. I’m getting up there in games so hopefully the points follow through,” Mueller said about his 400 points.

San Diego has been able to dominate the Roadrunners this year picking up six wins including one shutout win and an 8-1 victory. The Gulls were the team that beat the Roadrunners in their first game in franchise history on the road in San Diego. The Roadrunners have grown as a team since their first game and look like a different team.

Mueller leads the team in points with 57 and assists with 42. Mueller is currently tied for fourth in points in the AHL. Mueller is also tied for fourth in assists and most of the players above him have appeared in more games.

“It’s been my position to make players better around me, and lead the team in production or scoring department. Its what coach wanted me to do and help the younger guys along the way,” Mueller said.

Laurent Dauphin leads the team in goals with 16 on the year, Christian Fischer had 19 but was called up by the Arizona Coyotes several weeks ago. The Roadrunners will once again be looking for scoring from the players lower in the lineup.

Connor Garland played very impressive games against the San Jose Barracuda and Rampage. His offensive production is key in leading the Roadrunners to victory over a tough opponent.

Brandon Burlon, who has been in and out of the lineup this year, has played well for the Roadrunners when he’s on the ice. The Roadrunners played their last two games with seven defensemen instead of the usual six which has propelled them to two victories.

“Defensive hockey is our main priority, it’s a common saying that good defense leads to offense. If we can tighten up the D-zone and turn it into offensive chances that’s how you score goals and win games,” Burlon said.

Tucson will wrap up their home schedules on Saturday, and have five road games left with the season officially ending on April 15th in Stockton.


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