Roadrunners win opener, drop finale in two-game set with Heat

The Coyotes’ and Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliates played two high-scoring contests over the weekend


James Mackey

The Heat and Roadrunners split this weekend’s series in Tucson.

The Tucson Roadrunners flew home for their first two games at the Tucson Convention Center Arena this month, playing out a two-game set with the division-leading Stockton Heat on Friday and Saturday.

The series-opening tilt required extra time and a shootout to decide the winner after eight combined goals in regulation.

Ivan Prosvetov got the nod in goal on Friday, and the Roadrunners backed him up with an early goal. Blake Speers redirected a pass from Hudson Fasching at 3:16 of the first period before Stockton’s Jakob Pelletier connected on a quick snapshot for his eighth goal of the season.

The Heat grabbed the lead for the first time two minutes later, when Matthew Phillips received the puck from Connor Mackey and chipped the puck over Prosvetov’s pad. 

The second frame opened with another quick Tucson goal, as Matias Maccelli snuck a wrist shot past Heat goaltender Adam Werner to tie the game at two apiece

Eerily enough, both Pelletier and Phillips grabbed second period goals for Stockton to push the visitors’ lead to 4-2. Pelletier scored on a wrist shot of his own, and Mackey landed his 10th assist this season as Phillips redirected a shot while screening the goalie Prosvetov.

The Heat held this lead for just over four minutes.

Travis Barron notched his first goal on the season at the 11:05 mark, as he toe-dragged the puck to his backhand. Victor Soderstrom notched one of the assists on the play, and later notched the game-tying goal when he jammed home a rebound with 2:39 to go in the frame..

After a scoreless third period and an overtime session, the two teams headed into a shootout.

Both teams’ first shooters, Maccelli for the Roadrunners and Justin Kirkland for the Heat, scored. Stockton’s next three shooters failed to convert, and the Roadrunners’ Terry Broadhurst sealed the deal with a stick-side wrist shot in the fourth round to seal the comeback win.

The Heat regrouped and jumped on Tucson early into Saturday’s rematch. With Prosvetov getting a start on a back-to-back, Glenn Gawdin launched a one-time shot into the net before Ilya Solovyov sent a wrist shot into a jam-packed crease and beyond Prosvetov. Those two late first period goals propelled Stockton into the lead, and the Heat’s Connor Zary added another with just under seven minutes left in the second.

Ryan McGregor‘s wraparound put-back with only 13 seconds to go in the period allowed the Roadrunners to chip away entering the final period, but Emilio Petterson got the goal back at 3:22 of the third. The former sixth-round draft pick back in 2018 converted another one-timer after a Tic-Tac-Toe passing sequence with Zary and Martin Pospisil

Big defenseman Ilya Solovyov capped the scoring with a final one-timer at 5:43 of the third. Heat goalie Dustin Wolf made 30 saves, and Stockton salvaged a split with a 5-1 victory.

The Roadrunners will remain on home ice for two midweek tilts against the Henderson Silver Knights on Dec. 14 and 15.