PREVIEW: Gulls vs. RoadrunnersFeb 20, 2019
After six games and 14 days since their last game in San Diego, the Gulls finally return home. The team opens a two-game homestand this evening vs. the Tucson Roadrunners at Pechanga Arena San Diego (7 p.m. PT, Radio: Mighty 1090) in the first meeting in nearly three months between the Pacific Division rivals. The Gulls are coming off the longest road trip in club history that concluded with a 5-2 defeat to the San Jose Barracuda at SAP Center. The Gulls went 3-2-1-0 during the six-game trip, but also have wins in 16 of their previous 23 games played (16-5-2-0).
Tonight’s contest between San Diego and Tucson marks the sixth time the two teams have met this season and first since Dec. 5. After five matchups against the Arizona Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, San Diego has only earned a single point, owning a 0-4-1-0 record against the Roadrunners this season. Dating to last season, San Diego has lost eight straight against Tucson and has not defeated the Roadrunners for more than a calendar year, a 4-1 win in San Diego on Feb. 3, 2018
Dating to the last meeting between the clubs 77 days ago, the Gulls found themselves last in the AHL in both wins (8) and points (18). Meanwhile, the Roadrunners were just two points from league-leading San Jose. Since then, San Diego has not only caught up with Tucson, but passed them in the standings, going 19-7-2-2 in the following 30 games.
The Roadrunners slip in the standings has likely been a product of a lack of scoring. They have totaled 150 goals this season, ninth in the Western Conference. At the other end of the rink, San Diego leads the AHL with 3.61 goals-per game and also leads the Western Conference with 177 goals (including shootout goals, of which there have been two this season). A potential reason that Tucson has struggled here is that they have seen many of their scorers traded, including Adam Helewka and Laurent Dauphin while others such as defensemen and AHL All-Star Kyle Capobianco (32 points in 40 games) and Michael Bunting (27 points in 31 games) have been recalled by the Coyotes.
Acquired by the Coyotes organization from Nashville in the Helewka and Dauphin trade was center Emil Pettersson, who has combined for 11-26=37 points in 54 games between Tucson and Milwaukee. Among active skaters, Lane Peterson leads the Roadrunners in scoring (13=16=29) and goals.
Adin Hill (8-6-2) and Hunter Miska (9-7-4) continue to share the net for Tucson. Hill has posted a 2.43 goals-against average (GAA) and .914 save percentage (SV%) in 17 appearances while Miska has 22 games under his belt with a 3.13 GAA and .896 SV%.
Tonight will mark the first meeting between the teams since the Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes made a trade on Dec. 28. Anaheim acquired defenseman Trevor Murphy from the Coyotes in exchange for left wing Giovanni Fiore. As of Feb. 19, Murphy has been a picked up 3-10=13 points over 22 games since the trade, surpassing the 13 points (5G/8A) he collected in 27 games with the Roadrunners. On the other side, Fiore has picked up 3-3=6 points in 18 games with Tucson. It will mark the first time that both Murphy and Fiore face their former teams. As a rookie last season, Fiore appeared in his first professional season with San Diego scoring 18-12=30 points in 65 games, leading club rookies in points, goals, shots and games played. He appeared in 83 career games with San Diego, tallying 21-15=36 points.