Trouble In Tucson

Gulls Drop Fifth Straight, Lose 6-2 Against Roadrunners

Mar 20, 2021

The Tucson Roadrunners used a dominant first period to take down the San Diego Gulls, 6-2, tonight at Tucson Arena. The Roadrunners scored five unanswered goals in the opening frame to lead them to their first home win of the season.

Ryan McGregor (1-1=2), Jeremy Gregoire (1-1=2), and Michael Bunting (0-2=2) recorded multi-point nights to help Tucson grab their second straight win over the Gulls. Connor LaCouvee made 40 saves to grab his second win of the season. Both victories came at the expense of San Diego.

Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Chase De Leo scored for the Gulls, who saw their losing streak extend to five games. Andrew Poturalski collected his 12th helper of the season, sitting tied for second in the American Hockey League for assists.

"Not much to say after this one," De Leo said following the loss. "It’s not very fun when you get down like that in the first period.  We’ve just got to find a way to turn the ship around and start playing some positive hockey. It’s obviously never fun losing. We’ve got to talk about in our group and rebound tomorrow here. We’ve got a quick turnaround. Short term memory and put in a better effort tomorrow."

San Diego started strong, with Groulx’s fifth goal of the season coming just 2:01 into the first period.

Nicolas Brouillard carried the puck through the slot, throwing a backhand shot on LaCouvee. The Tucson netminder let a rebound trickle to the side of the net, where Groulx chipped a shot past him for the opening score.

Groulx is tied for eighth among all AHL rookie skaters in goals.

Tucson flipped the game quickly, responding with three goals in just over three minutes to take the lead.

Ryan McGregor tied the game at one just 11 seconds after San Diego took the lead. Kyle Capobianco carried the puck down from the point, firing a low shot that Jeff Glass kicked away. The rebound went right to McGregor in the slot, who deposited the puck into the wide-open net for his second goal of the season.

Tucson grabbed a 2-1 lead at 3:05 of the period, as defenseman Dustin Mayo wired a wrist shot through traffic for his first goal of the season.

McGregor scored his second goal of the game at 5:05 of the first period, converting on a 2-on-1 rush. Jeremy Gregoire stole the puck in the neutral zone and led the rush into San Diego's end. He threaded a pass through Trevor Carrick and onto the stick of McGregor, who snapped it into an open net.

Former Gull Kevin Roy extended the Roadrunners lead to three with just under 10 minutes remaining in the opening period, netting his eighth goal of the season. Roy is tied for fourth among AHL skaters in goals.

Gregoire added his second point of the game, scoring Tucson's fifth goal of the period with just over four minutes left in the first frame.

Glass tied his own Gulls record for most goals allowed in a single period, matching the five he allowed in the second period against the Bakersfield Condors on February 9, 2019.

The team also set records for the most goals allowed in a period - passing its record of four - and the fastest five goals allowed to start a game, eclipsing the 30:13 it took Bakersfield to score five times on March 18, 2016.

"You were kind saying we kind of stumbled because we definitely did," head coach Kevin Dineen said. "We had talked about different strategic things that we felt we could take advantage of and we saw it happen right to us. They pushed hard after that first goal and our response wasn’t very good. We got ourselves behind the eight ball in the first period and had a decent couple of road periods to finish up the game, but it was too little, too late."


The two teams traded goals in the middle frame.

De Leo cut into the deficit, scoring a power-play goal early in the second period to bring San Diego within three.

Poturalski fed the recently-reassigned Josh Mahura at the point, who patiently waited for a shooting lane to open. He floated a wrist shot toward the net, and De Leo knocked it out of the air and past LaCouvee for his sixth goal of the season.

Lane Pederson one-timed a shot past Glass to restore Tucson's four-goal lead with 8:30 left in the second period. Bunting fired a cross-ice pass, and Pederson wasted no time firing the puck on net. Glass managed to slide across the crease, but the puck squeezed through the netminder for Pederson’s seventh goal of the season.

Tucson’s sixth goal set a new season high, surpassing the five the Roadrunners scored in consecutive games against San Jose and Ontario on Feb. 8 and 12.

Glass prevented the Roadrunners from extending their lead further, stopping McGregor on a penalty shot at 4:09 of the third period. Gunning for the hat trick, McGregor tried to cut across the crease and sneak it past San Diego’s netminder, but the veteran stuck out the glove to deny the scoring chance.

Glass suffered his first loss of the season, finishing with 23 saves.

After starting the season with a franchise-record six straight wins, the Gulls dropped nine of their last 11 games and now sit a game below .500.

"We play in a good league," Dineen said. "I think our lineup has had some transition in it and we have lots of excuses built in, but for me, every chance you get to step on the ice, you get the opportunity to go perform. We’re not playing at a high enough level – our record indicates that and the way we feel about ourselves does too so we got less than 24 hours and we’re going to get back at it tomorrow."

The same two teams will face off tomorrow in the second game of the weekend back-to-back series at Tucson Arena (5 p.m. PT, TV: AHL TV; RADIO: Gulls Audio Network).

"We’ll have a chat here and watch some video, but it goes back to the work," De Leo said. "We’ve got to worry about ourselves, not who we’re playing against. Tonight, we beat ourselves. They’re a good team, don’t want to not give them credit, but I know how we can play."

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