PALM DESERT, Calif. – In elimination games, you have to stand up or stand down. After taking a tough loss in game one and winning in game two, the Tucson Roadrunners came into game three hoping to find similar fortunes that they had in period one of game two: High-flying scoring.
The coach on the opposite end said it was all a part of the plan:
“We wanted it to go as long as possible to push them out,” told Dan Bylsma to 106.9 the Eagle. “We want to steamroll and bulldoze them until they want out of the game.”
One thing that did stand out is just how bad the defense was for Tucson. By the first TV timeout, the Firebirds had already stacked up four unanswered goals and the end of the night for Ivan Prosvetov.
Here’s how it measured:
- Six Feet Rule: Carsen Twarynski took a wrap-around trying to stuff it on the low pad. When the puck came out in front, nobody had eyes on Ville Petman, who was there to tap in the game’s opening goal. There was nobody even close to him.
- Defense Came up Short: Curtis Douglas, from behind his own net, threw the puck just past the circles. Right on cue, the clearing attempt landed in the chest of David Goyette. A pass went to rookie Shane Wright, who tapped in the second goal on a zinger of a shot.
Shane Wright sighting 👀@Firebirds | #CVvsTUC pic.twitter.com/E0lp12vC1y
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) April 23, 2023
- Too Tall to Save: Two whistles later, Kole Lind took a harmless shot from outside the circles to beat Prosvetov. The Roadrunners were bleeding, but that wasn’t all.
- A gigantic lead: The defense let Cameron Hughes find Tye Kartye in the circles, with two firebirds in the slot for the 4-0 maker. By now, we haven’t even played 10 minutes.
An interesting point: the camera saw Prosvetov after his fourth goal. He was set to be pulled. He appeared to say something as he skated into the corner. Looking back on the fourth goal and noticing that there was a Roadrunner directly in front of him and another in the lane by the circles, with nobody on Katrye, it made me think he had words for his team.
The defense was simply lifeless. They watched the Firbirds skate around them on multiple occasions, which was the demise of three of the four in the first period.
And if I’m going to be honest, that continues into the second period, where Coachella Valley sunk 17 shots on net and 22 on Tyler Parks. This gave me a short feeling when they went to pull home with over 11 minutes.
You see, it was the first time the Roadrunners looked like they had a sense of just how bad the situation was. While inevitably, they would end up giving up a goal, it pointed out that they understood that something wasn’t right.
A late Tucson goal gave us the 5-1 final in a game that gave me vibes of game one, with goals off the hop and not much afterward.
Tucson had a tall order, but in the playoffs, you need to find a way to measure up to your opponent. Otherwise, you’ll continue to fall short.
Coachella Valley will face Colorado on Wednesday.
What a season ❤️#ThanksToYou520 pic.twitter.com/Qhl3twg9z4
— Tucson Roadrunners (@RoadrunnersAHL) April 24, 2023
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