Roadrunners beat San Diego Gulls 6-3 in final game of the season.


Sarah Hall/SCC

Roadrunners and Gulls at the start of the 3rd period

Sarah Hall, Reporter

The Tucson Roadrunners sealed home ice advantage for the Calder Cup Playoffs on Friday, April 13 with their win against the San Diego Gulls.

That win also sealed the I-8 Border Trophy, based on their rivalry.

The first period was back and forth, hard checking and aggressive. The Gulls controlled the first 13 minutes of play, until the Roadrunners were able to go on the power play. On their first shot on goal, the Roadrunners scored on a shot from the point by defenseman Trevor Murphy and a tip from Lawson Crouse that bounced over Gull’s goaltender Reto Berra’s pad and in.

The Roadrunners controlled play for the rest of the first period, including a broken play while the Gulls tried to clear.

Roadrunners forward Zac Larraza passed the puck from behind the net to Michael Bunting who shot it short side over Berra’s blocker with 5.8 seconds left in the first period.

At the start of the second period the Roadrunners still controlled play. Jordan Gross, a new signing from University of Notre Dame, passed the puck to Murphy and Tye McGinn put it home over Berra’s glove hand. Roadrunners leading 3-0.

The Gulls scored with just under 10 minutes left of the second period, forward Nic Kerdiles from Jacob Larsson and Kalle Kossila, finally cracking Roadrunners goaltender Hunter Miska making the score 3-1.

The Roadrunners put themselves at a disadvantage, giving the Gulls a 5-on-3. The penalty killers and Miska worked together to kill both penalties, keeping their two goal lead.

At 4:27 into the third period the Gulls pull within one goal, the shot by Kossila beat Miska, with heavy pressure on the Roadrunners. The Roadrunners were able to regain the momentum of the period after the goal, 3-2 Roadrunners.

The Roadrunners take advantage of a breakdown on defense from the Gulls, Trevor Cheek and Michael Bunting with a bit of a give and go, and mishandling of the puck by Berra it hit one of the Gulls and slid past him, 4-2 Roadrunners at 11:16 of the third period.

Shortly after, Kalle Kossila scored his second of the night on a down and out Miska making it 4-3 Roadrunners.

Zac Larraza, Scottsdale native, scored on a pass from Kyle Capobianco and scores glove side high. 5-3 Roadrunners with about three minutes left.

Roadrunners defenseman Kyle Capobianco and Gulls forward Kevin Roy both take minors for slashing, causing the last two minutes to be almost a power play, 4-on-5 while the Gulls have their goalie pulled.

Trevor Cheek makes it 6-3 with an empty netter, just under a minute left to play.

Sarah Hall/SCC
Roadrunners and Gulls in motion

Head Coach Mike Van Ryn gave his thoughts about his players when the Gulls made it 3-2.

“I was pretty proud of the guys tonight, they didn’t have to win a game,” Van Ryn said. “They got pretty angry when they pulled within one. The guys really wanted to win it.”

The Roadrunners will start the first round in San Jose at the end of next week, even though they have home ice advantage. In the Calder Cup Playoffs the home team can select where they start the first round.

The Roadrunners will be playing the San Jose Barracuda in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

“It’s going to be a hard fought series,” Van Ryn said. ” They (San Jose) played us well all year. We gotta be ready for them. We gotta put together, maybe a better game plan than we have in the past. Our execution has got to be better. We’re getting to work already on it.”

The Roadrunners finish their second season with a record of 42-20-6. The best for the young franchise.