Comeback Falls Short in Tucson, Gulls Grounded 6-3Nov 7, 2018
The Tucson Roadrunners continued to be a thorn in the side of the Gulls as they thwarted a third-period comeback attempt to earn a 6-3 victory at Tucson Convention Center Arena. The win marked Tucson's fourth straight win over San Diego in 2018-19 and the seventh straight overall dating back to last season.
Giovanni Fiore (1G/1A) and Corey Tropp (1G/1A) each tallied multi-point efforts while Troy Terry continued his hot start with another assist to set a new club mark. But it was Mario Kempe's two goals, including a heartbreaking fifth goal for Tucson only 13 seconds after Tropp had cut the Roadrunners lead to 4-3 that sealed the game.
Tucson rookie goaltender Merrick Madsen, making his first career AHL start, stopped 19 of San Diego's 22 shots to record his first AHL victory while Jared Coreau made 25 saves in net for San Diego.
The first period was a stark contrast to the six-goal third period as defense was the name of the game in the opening frame as both teams combined for a mere 13 shots, with Tucson edging a 9-4 advantage.
Mario Kempe opened the second period with a flash as he stole the puck on a failed attempt to exit the zone and beat Coreau blocker-side to net his first of the game 2:41 into the period. The goal marked Kempe’s second of the season, his first coming against San Diego on Oct. 27.
Towards the end of the second period, the Roadrunners took full control of the game, scoring two quick, back-to-back goals in a span of 27 seconds. Rookie Brayden Burke scored the first of the two at 3:27 of the period. David Ullstrom, who recently had a two-goal performance against San Diego, recorded the second with three minutes remaining in the period..
Shortly into the third period, Tucson’s Cam Dineen was called for holding and San Diego was given their second power play opportunity of the game. Entering the game, the Gulls had scored on the man advantage in all but one game this season, and tonight would be no different. Giovanni Fiore added his fourth goal of the season on a one-timer coming by way of a backhand pass from Corey Tropp 2:29 into the third.
The assist marked the Tropp’s fifth against Tucson this season and team-leading ninth overall. Deven Sideroff added the other helper, giving him four assists in his last four games.
With 9:53 left in the third period, Conor Garlund added to the Tucson lead with his fourth goal of the season on an odd-man rush. Michael Bunting and Robbie Russo both received assists and would end the night with two assists apiece.
Gulls captain Jaycob Megna began a late-period comeback effort, putting home a slap shot for his first of the season with 5:51 remaining in the game. Troy Terry added the primary assist to continue his point and assist streak. Both now at six games, Terry owns the club’s longest point and assist streaks to begin a career. Fellow rookie Sam Steel also added an assist for his first career AHL point.
Terry's six consecutive games with an assist is the second longest current assist streak in the AHL behind Iowa’s Brennan Menell’s seven-game assist streak (0-7=7) and the longest current assist streak by a rookie in the AHL.
To cut Tucson’s lead to a single goal, Tropp scored on a rebound opportunity at 3:05 left in the period. Giovanni Fiore came away the primary assist on the goal as the two forwards connected on a goal for the second time of the night. Josh Mahura earned the secondary helper.
Tucson’s Mario Kempe quickly answered 13 second later for his second goal of the game to take the wind out of San Diego’s comeback and extend the Gulls' losing streak at Tucson Convention Center Arena to five straight games. Trevor Murphy finished the game with an empty-net goal with 1:44 remaining on the clock.
The Gulls return to San Diego to begin a season-long five-game homestand on Friday, Nov. 9 against the Colorado Eagles at Valley View Casino Center (7 p.m.) in the first-ever matchup between the two clubs.