The Tucson Roadrunners enter the backstretch of a long November homestand on Friday, Nov. 10, when they host Bakersfield in the first game of a weekend series.
First-place Tucson (6-1-2-0) could gain some separation in the Pacific Division standings with a pair of wins this weekend. The Roadrunners beat the Condors (5-4-1) by four goals last month, but coach Mike Van Ryn cautioned against taking away too much from the margin of victory.
“They played us well,” Van Ryn said. “That wasn’t a 4-0 game by any means when we played them. We’ve watched a lot of their film, and they’re playing a good game.”
The Roadrunners team that scored the early-season win over Bakersfield is not a complete reflection of Tucson’s present roster.
In the month since, Tucson has had a litany of call-ups and send-downs. Right wing Mike Sislo was recalled to the Arizona Coyotes earlier this week.
It’s possible that the 29-year-old veteran could return to Tucson for the weekend series after Arizona’s trip home from St. Louis.
“That’s the nature of this league,” Van Ryn said. “We’ll bring in some new guys and let them have a go at it here.”
Van Ryn saw an uptick in his team’s play between the Friday night overtime loss to Cleveland last week and its overtime win a night later.
The Roadrunners came out the second night with a new amount of energy, Van Ryn noted.
“We just weren’t processing the game the right way,” Van Ryn said. “The way that we want to play up top is a tough way to play and it takes focus and determination. It’s easy if you’re not feeling good to fall back and get away from what our game plan is.”
Through nine games, Tucson is averaging 3.4 goals per game on 27.7 shot attempts. That means the Roadrunners are connecting on a little over 12 percent of shots.
That number is an improvement from Tucson’s season scoring distribution a year ago, when the Roadrunners scored on about 10 percent of shot attempts.
In goal, the Roadrunners will continue to turn to the trio of Adin Hill, Hunter Miksa and Marek Langhamer.
The Coyotes assigned goalie Louis Domingue to Tucson earlier in the week but he has not yet made an appearance with the team.
Hill continues to be one of Tucson’s top performers, on and off the ice. Hill will wear a specially designed mask featuring Davis-Monthan Air Force Base this weekend. The Roadrunners are honoring first responders on Friday and hosting Military Appreciation Night on Saturday.
“I was brainstorming ideas for Arizona, and I know the Air Force base is a big deal for Tucson and the state of Arizona,” Hill said.