The Tucson Roadrunners did just about everything right Sunday according to head coach Mike Van Ryn.
Well, except for taking home a win.
Returning to ice competitively for the first time in a week, Tucson shook off a rusty start to put together a complete game but one that ended in a 4-2 loss to the Ontario Reign at Tucson Arena.
Van Ryn credited Ontario’s goalkeeper for keeping Tucson out of the scoring column for most of the afternoon.
“I thought we played well and we threw out 40 some shots,” Van Ryn said. “We had a lot of had a chances but their goalie played well. That’s hockey.”
The Roadrunners nearly doubled Ontario in shots, getting off 40 attempts on the net versus 21 by the Reign.
Ontario’s offense happened to be far more efficient on the day.
The Roadrunners were without their top scoring threat, Dylan Strome, who was called up to the Arizona Coyotes last Sunday. Strome is likely with the Coyotes now for good.
The 20-year old forward led the team with eight goals and 18 assists.
Tucson’s offense looked out of sync for much of the first period but played better after that.
“I thought we took it to them, especially in the second period,” Kyle Capobianco said. “We worked them down low and I think we used our speed really well.”
Ontario got on the board early Sunday with two first period goals.
Michael Mersch scored the Reign’s first goal less than five minutes into the game. Ontario’s Justin Auger added a second score moments later.
The Roadrunners recovered in the second period where they outshot Ontario by a 12-4 margin.
Tucson’s first goal of the day came on a shot by Capobianco, who assisted by Tyler Gaudet and Michael Bunting.
Ontario’s pushed away Tucson’s chances of a comeback victory when T.J. Hensick scored a pair of goals between late in the second period and the opening minutes of the third period.
Tucson’s second score came courtesy Jens Looke.
Attendance was 4,390, just short of the team’s season-high turnout on opening night.
The Roadrunners celebrated its second annual Teddy Bear Toss, where fans throw stuffed bears onto the ice after the team’s first goal.
“I thought it was good,” Bunting said. “We had a lot of teddy bears come down.”
The teddy bears will be distributed to local Tucson foster homes.