CRUSHERS (29-15-4-3) vs. WILD (35-16-3-3)
6:00 p.m. PST | AHLTV | Spreaker | iHeartRadio
2019-20 Season Series: 0-2-1-0
2019-20 Crushers Home Record: 13-8-3-1
2019-20 Wild Road Record: 14-8-3-1
Power Play – 49-for-189 (25.9%; 2nd)
Penalty Kill – 195-for-223 (87.4%; 1st)
Power Play – 52-for-241 (21.6%; 5th)
Penalty Kill – 188-for-223 (84.3%; 8th)
2019-20 Leading Scorers
Points – Quine (46)
Goals – Froese/Philp (18)
Points – Anas (63)
Goals – Mayhew (39)
Lodi looks to shake off a Friday setback against the San Diego Gulls, a game in which the home club scored first before San Diego rattled off three-straight to take a two-goal edge into the final period, the difference in the final score. Crushers goals came from Luke Philp and Eetu Tuulola, with Philp’s coming on the man-advantage and Tuulola’s shorthanded – his first shortie of his AHL career. Lodi comes into the game 4-5-1-0 in its last 10 contests following the Friday loss and will look to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Iowa Wild, the Crushers with a record of 0-2-1-0 on the year in three meetings with the second-place team in the AHL’s Central Division.
Iowa is red hot coming into tonight’s game, the Wild winners of 11 of their past 13 games and with points in 14 of their past 16 as they’ve jumped to second in the AHL in point percentage at .667. As good as Iowa has been this year, the club has struggled against the Pacific Division with 11 wins in 21 games. In the recent run of points for the Wild was a pair of wins in Des Moines over the Crushers, 5-2 and 7-4 on February 8 and 9, respectively. The Wild come into the contest without leading scorer Gerry Mayhew, who earned a recall to the Minnesota Wild on February 23.
US VS. THEM
Lodi has struggled against Iowa this season, an uncharacteristic trend for this Crushers club. The Wild have the scoring edge by a 16-9 aggregate in three meetings and have scored on four of nine power play opportunities against the top-ranked kill in the AHL. The Crushers are paced by Byron Froese in the season series, the team captain with five points (2g,3a) in three games. Lodi gets a reprieve from Mayhew in tonight’s meeting, the forward with eight points and four goals in three contests. The Crushers will look to prevent a losing streak in a bounce-back contest.
Things are crowded in the Pacific, so check the claustrophobia at the door. Only six points separate top-ranked Tucson from fifth-place San Diego, with the Crushers ranking second – two back from the Roadrunners and just four up on the Gulls. Tonight’s game is the final tilt outside of the division, with the remaining 16 games on the schedule representing four-point swings each night on the ice.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Crushers – Luke Philp
Philp’s marker in last night’s bout brought him to a tie with Byron Froese for the team lead with 18 goals on the year. He’s tops on the roster with three goals in three games against Iowa and will look to extend his recent scoring stretch to points in five of six overall with tonight’s contest.
Wild – Luke Johnson
Luke Johnson has picked up his scoring pace with seven goals in Iowa’s last eight games, including a hat trick in the Wild’s last outing on Tuesday against the Chicago Wolves. Johnson has recorded the game winner in each of Iowa’s last two contests and has three points in two games against Lodi on the year.