The Tucson Roadrunners will wrap up a two-week road trip Wednesday when they take on the San Jose Barracuda.
The Roadrunners have logged about 4,500 flying miles across the six-game road trip, which has taken the team to Southern California, up to San Jose, down to Texas, then back to San Jose.
“It’s a bit of a grind when you get to the end of it,” forward Lane Pederson said. “We have a pretty good schedule and the coaches have done a good job letting our bodies recover, so it’s been good.”
Tucson has also gained ground in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division standings.
The Roadrunners are 4-1 on the trip and have won three in a row. They have played some of their best hockey away from the confines of Tucson Arena. Heading into Wednesday, Tucson is 16-4-1-1 on the road.
“When you’re on the road, you’re on the road, so whether it’s one game or six games, your routine stays the same,” Roadrunners goalie Adin Hill said. “We go out and explore whatever city we’re in. It’s cool to explore a different place and see different cities.”
Hill has been the defensive catalyst for much of Tucson’s road success. The 21-year old is 7-0 in his last seven road starts.
Hill and Hunter Miska have formed one of the best goalkeeping tandems in the AHL. The two have combined to allow a little over 2.5 goals per game.
Tucson’s 121 team goals allowed this year is tied for second lowest in the league, albeit the Roadrunners have played fewer games than most teams.
“We’ve been playing a good team game,” Hill said. “Even when we haven’t played our best games on this road trip, we’ve still found ways to win.”
Offensively, Tucson has relied on the usual suspects of Dylan Strome, Nick Merkley and Kyle Capobianco, while also finding scoring elsewhere.
Pederson recorded his first career multi-point game with a goal and two assists Friday night against Texas, after scoring a game-winner against San Jose earlier last week.
Another win against San Jose would keep Tucson in good shape for the playoff picture.
A little past the midway point of the regular season, Tucson leads the Pacific Division with a .648 points percentage (the number of games in which Tucson has picked up at least one point).
San Diego, Texas, and Stockton are all within striking distance.
“Definitely in the back of everyone’s minds is the postseason and where we want to eventually end up,” Pederson said. “Right now it’s a one-day-at-a-time mentality of focusing on the job at hand.”