TUCSON, Ariz. - “I don't know. I hope it's a good one,” Roadrunners head coach Mike Van Ryn laughs as he’s asked what the first Roadrunners playoff game might be like. Van Ryn doesn't know what to expect in their 1st playoff game, in just the 2nd year of here in Tucson.
“I don't know last year we got off to a good start, we just didn't maintain it. This year, we bought in to the system, we play fast,” says second year player Connor Garland.
A new head coach, and some veteran players, the Roadrunners have a new system on the ice that has equaled success in year 2. But the players say a lot of it comes from the relationships among the team. “It's like we're like a brotherhood or a family, says goalie Adin Hill. “We're all together, we're all in it, we all want what's best for each other. It doesn't matter who's scoring the goal as long as it's a goal, right?"
And the team has bought in. “I think it's just a good group that knows how hard it is to get up there,” says Van Ryn.
Surpassing their win and point totals from last season, the Roadrunners have seen several players have their best seasons yet, and even more make their NHL debut with the Coyotes. “Everybody has just found another step. And that's what we were hoping. You hope everybody gets 10 percent better. If they do that, it's a pretty successful year,” says Van Ryn.
In a bizarre scheduling twist, the Roadrunners have a better road record this year, than home record, with no real explanation. As a high seed in the playoffs, the Roadrunners will get to choose if they want to start the season on the road, or here at home.