The Tucson Roadrunners took the lead, lost the lead, then took it back for good Tuesday night.
In the finale of a five-game home stand, Tucson topped the Ontario Reign 5-2 behind a season-high three power-play goals. The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Roadrunners.
The victory also keeps Tucson atop of the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division as it embarks on a heavy December schedule.
“I thought our guys got to net and did a good job driving the backpost and making the goalie uncomfortable,” Roadrunners head coach Mike Van Ryn said.
Tucson gained a 2-0 first period lead on the Reign with goals from Jens Looke and Mike Sislo.
Ontario came back with vengeance in the second period, outshooting Tucson by a 13-4 margin.
The Reign cut into Tucson’s lead with a score by Matt Luff, then tied the game when Zach Leslie netted a goal with 4:30 to go in the period.
“We got away from our game in the second,” Van Ryn said. “Penalties and stuff derailed us.”
The Roadrunners controlled the game’s third period en route to the victory.
Tyler Gaudet started the scoring with a one-timer 36 seconds into the period to give Tucson a 3-2 lead. Dysin Mayo added a goal two minutes later.
Nick Merkley added a power-play goal 5ƒ minutes into the period to put the game away.
“We work on power play throughout the week and it’s a big part of the game so it’s good to get those,” Mayo said.
Tucson also benefited from a pair of assists by Tye McGinn.
The wing joined the Roadrunners in November as part of a trade between the Arizona Coyotes and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The two assists were McGinn’s first points with the team.
“It feels really good to get that one off my shoulders,” McGinn said. “I thought we were breaking the put in really well and we were setting up our system right off the entries.”
The Roadrunners edged Ontario in shots by a 28-25 margin.
Adin Hill started at goalkeeper for Tucson, saving 23 of 25 attempts.
The Roadrunners head to the Bay Area next to face the San Jose Barracuda and the Stockton Heat on Friday and Saturday.
“We don’t know San Jose at all, we haven’t played them yet, so we’ll have to dig in on them,” Van Ryn said.
“Stockton, we’ve played so we can know that they can skate.
“They play a similar brand of game that we do and they try to be quick.”
The Roadrunners are back in Tucson next week with weekday matchups against San Jose.