During his young hockey career, Dakota Murmis has won two Ontario Hockey League championships and one United States Hockey League title.
The Tucson Roadrunners defenseman knows how to weather a storm. He understands the ups and downs of a long season, and he didn’t mean the vibrations of Thursday’s bumpy bus ride from Sacramento to Stockton. Tucson will play the Heat on Friday before heading to San Jose to face the Barracuda on Saturday night.
Coming off a two-game losing streak, which itself followed a four-game winning streak, Murmis and Tucson are just hoping to take an even keel to Northern California.
“I would say it’s just about resiliency,” Murmis said. “We’ve relied on older guys, experienced guys. It’s about knowing if you lose two games it’s not the end of the world, and if you win two, that doesn’t set you up for a championship, too.”
Tucson’s two-game losing streak came in the Tucson Arena, where they were 9-3-1 before playing visiting San Antonio Rampage.
The Roadrunners took one day off to lick their wounds, then got right back on the ice to address what caused the issues in the first place.
“We took a step back after last weekend, a tough weekend for us,” Murmis said. “We got back to work to correct everything that we saw on video. It was actually a tough week for us. We wanted to take the week to get better.”
There was nothing major or specific that was addressed in practice, Murmis said.
“I would say it was more or less tune-ups; all-in-all, we’ve been pretty good,” Murmis said. “With such a long season, there are ups and downs, and it’s all about managing those. Coaches pull up video and show us exactly what we went wrong. But it’s a quick turnaround in most cases, so you’ve got to have a short-term memory.”
Making this weekend’s matchups even more important: They come against the two teams sandwiching the Roadrunners in the standings. The Barracuda has used an 8-1-1 stretch to reach the top of the standings. Tucson is third in the AHL’s Pacific Division with a .635 winning percentage despite allowing more goals (87) than they’ve scored (83).
The Roadrunners are fully aware of the importance of this stretch.
“These games are very crucial,” right-winger Conor Garland said. “We need all the points we can get, and we want to be a good road team, so these points will be big for us.”