Tucson Roadrunners, Texas Stars share spoils in weekend series

The Coyotes’ AHL affiliate rolled to victory Saturday before the Stars bounced back Sunday


Northeast Valley News

A Tucson Roadrunners player was recently subjected to a racist taunt.

Following their opening road set with the Stockton Heat, the Tucson Roadrunners returned home this past weekend for two games with the Texas Stars, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Dallas Stars.

Saturday’s opener was all Roadrunners, with the Arizona Coyotes’ farm team making a statement in a 4-0 win.

The scoring opened late in the first period. Vladislav Kolyachonok corralled a puck shot wide and ripped a shot on goal himself. It rebounded off Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger, right onto Liam Kirk‘s stick in front of the net. Kirk subsequently netted his first career goal in North America.

Following the break, the Roadrunners’ Ben McCartney scored the first of his three goals on the night. Barrett Hayton and Cameron Hebig began a 2-on-1 rush, with Hebig sending the puck across the zone to McCartney, who caught Oettinger out of position to make the score 2-0.

Tucson extended their lead on the power play less than 10 minutes into the frame, with McCartney crashing the net and deflecting Jan Jenik‘s shot into the goal for his second of the evening. He completed his hat trick with an empty net goal in the closing minutes of the third period.

Following Saturday’s win, the Roadrunners were set for a battle on Sunday, fighting to stay above .500. Ivan Prosvetov understandably got the start, carrying a 1.000 save percentage into the game.

But the Stars zapped Tucson’s momentum when Riley Damiani and Jordan Kawaguchi set up Curtis McKenzie for a rebound goal to make it 1-0. Later in the frame, Joel L’Esperance shot another puck on net and beat a screened Prosvetov, extending Texas’s lead before intermission.

Tucson eventually tied things up with two goals in three minutes. Jenik circled Oettinger to make it 2-1 before Hudson Fasching centered the puck to Janis Moser for the tying goal.

But the Stars were back on top within five minutes, as Fredrik Karlstrom scored unassisted. Texas would keep the lead for good, as L’Esperance struck again from a McKenzie assist before Josh Melnick and Riley Tufte sealed the deal for the Stars with empty-netters. The visitors skated off with a 6-2 win, a powerful response following Saturday’s heavy loss.

The Roadrunners aim to get back on track in their upcoming home series with the San Diego Gulls on Oct. 29 and 30.