Gulls, Roadrunners Square Off in TucsonMar 10, 2020
The Gulls travel to Tucson one final time this season for a back-to-back set against the Roadrunners, beginning tonight at Tucson Convention Center Arena (7:05 p.m. PT, TV: AHLTV, Radio: San Diego Gulls Audio Network). After beginning the road trip with a 4-1 loss in Tucson, San Diego went on to collect points in the following four games (3-0-1-0). Now, the team will look to extend its point streak to five games as they hit the tail end its record-long road trip.
Last weekend, the Gulls faced off against San Jose in a back-to-back set. San Diego collected a point in the matchup on Mar. 6 when San Jose erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Gulls. The following evening, Mar. 7, the Gulls got their revenge as they came back after being down by two goals after the first period. Chris Mueller opened scoring with a power-play goal in the second period and Sam Carrick tied the game, erasing a two-goal deficit and sending the game to overtime. Isac Lundestrom completed the comeback effort when he netted his sixth goal of the season with 3.6 seconds remaining in overtime.
“Obviously, every game you go in and you want to win, you expect to win and that’s what you work towards,” said Josh Mahura regarding the win in San Jose. “On the road trip, coming away with three out of four is a good consolation for us. We’re just going to continue to move forward.”
San Diego (29-18-6-2, 55 pts.) reclaimed its playoff spot after collecting three points in San Jose. In addition, the Gulls have a two-point advantage against Ontario after the Colorado Eagles defeated the Reign in back-to-back matchups.
Carrick set the new club record for shorthanded goals in a season when he netted his fourth shorthanded goal on Saturday. The Gulls rank tied for second in the league with 17 shorthanded goals this season.
The Gulls captain tallied points in seven of his last eight games (3-5=8) and leads San Diego in scoring, collecting 22-20=42 points in 44 games this season. In five games against Tucson, the captain posted 4-2=6 points to lead his team in scoring against the Roadrunners.
Mueller continues to play a big part in the push to secure a playoff spot, collecting points in five of his last six appearances (3-3=6). The veteran center enters tonight’s matchup hoping to extend his point streak to five games. The former Roadrunner recorded just one point in his four appearances against Tucson this season.
Joining San Diego is netminder Olle Eriksson Ek, taking the place of the recalled Anthony Stolarz. This season in Tulsa, the Karlstad, Sweden native split time evenly in the Oilers' crease, appearing in 27 games, posting a 10-11-4 record a 3.01 goals-against average (GAA) and a .902 save percentage (SV%).
The Gulls split the season series to date, with a 3-3-0-0 record against the Roadrunners. They hope to secure their first win in Tucson this season, posting a 0-2-0-0 record at Tucson Convention Center Arena. All-time, the Gulls are 20-15-2-1 record vs. Tucson (9-8-1-0 on the road).
Tucson (35-18-1-2, 73 pts.) maintained its spot at top of the division all season and ranks seventh overall in the league. The Roadrunners’ efforts have not subsided as they enter tonight’s matchup carrying a three-game win streak (3-0-0-0).
Despite Tucson's status as one of the top teams in the league, its special teams play does not top the charts. The Roadrunners rank 28th in the league on the penalty kill, allowing 45 goals while being down a man 211 times (78.7%). Their power play sits in the middle of the league at 18th, converting on 48-of-276 (17.4%) opportunities.
“They’re fast and they’re hard,” said Kyle Criscuolo about Tucson. “Everything they do is quick and they’re finishing checks all over the ice and I think they’re pretty creative as well, so I think it’s a deadly mix. I think we have a team similar to them and we can play a little bit of their game in their building.”
Michael Bunting is an important factor in Tucson’s success this season, tallying 12-37=49 points in 56 games. Bunting recorded a career-high nine-game point streak dating from Dec. 14 to Jan. 10, during which he collected 2-13=15 points, including a three-point (1-2=3) game against San Diego on Dec. 31. The Scarborough, Ontario native enters tonight’s matchup riding a separate four-game point streak (2-3=5).
Andy Miele continues to contribute to the Roadrunners’ success, collecting 15-32=47 points in 56 games. Miele tallied points in nine of his last 11 games (3-9=12). The Detroit, Michigan native has recorded 1-2=3 points in six games against San Diego.