CEDAR PARK, Texas — Tucson Roadrunners coach Mike Van Ryn shook his head.
A replay had just shown a shot by Roadrunners center Carter Camper late in the first period Friday that hit one post and slid across the front of the goal and ricocheted off the other post had not crossed the goal line.
As Tucson heads into the summer following a 3-2 season-ending overtime loss in Game 5 of its second-round Calder Cup playoff series with the Texas Stars, it’s plays like those that Van Ryn will think about from a 4-1 series loss where the Roadrunners caught very few breaks, especially on the road at the H-E-B Center.
“Obviously, we wish that shot went in,” Van Ryn said. “We didn’t catch many breaks, but their goalie (Mike McKenna) played really well. We couldn’t solve him. … Yeah, you need some bounces, but like every other coach will tell you, you make your own luck by how hard you work. It’s the playoffs, it’s a different season and it’s unfortunate.”
Camper’s attempt marked the second of four Tucson shots that hit the post Friday, a contest in which they outshot Texas 39-29. In their three games in Texas, the Roadrunners found the post nine times.
“That’s hockey sometimes, a lot of the bounces just didn’t work out in our favor,” Tucson goaltender Adin Hill said. “Bounces happen and you have to deal with them and either get a bounce or create something on your own.”
Joel L’Esperance scored just less than nine minutes into overtime, finishing a rebound off Hill to win the game and series for the Stars.
“It’s disappointing,” Hill said. “I thought we were going to have a great run and I thought we’d be going into the end of June. It stinks. They’re a good team, they have a lot of veterans and McKenna is playing unbelievably well.”
This wasn’t how it was supposed to end for the Roadrunners.
Pacific Division champions during the regular season and winning an incredible 75 percent of road games prior to this series, the Roadrunners suffered their third straight road loss and fourth in a row in the series.
“We had lots of scoring chances, we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Van Ryn said. “Some guys had a tough time this series and that’s what happens. That’s why you need other guys to step up and all that.”
The teams traded goals the first two periods, with Lawson Crouse and Ryan MacInnis finding the net for Tucson to tie the contest after Colin Markison and Travis Morin scored to give Texas 1-0 and 2-1 leads.
Hill made the majority of his 26 saves during the third and overtime before L’Esperance ended the game and Tucson’s season.
“It’s unfortunate,” Van Ryn said. “I think we were good enough to go deeper.”