Topeka scored early and scored often as they dominated the Kenai River Brown Bears on Saturday with a 7-1 win to wrap up the Showcase with a 4-0-0 record, and 6-0-0 overall on the year.
Returning forward Jasen Fernsler got Topeka on the board just 1:25 into the game when he roofed a pass from below the goal line set up by the solid forecheck of Mike Gornall and Daniel Rzavsky. At 2:31, Jack Kelly buried his first NAHL goal from the left point, assisted by Kevin Fitzgerald and Tyler Hayes. At 3:30 of the first period, Sly Sutter lifted the puck upstairs after a slick rush by Willie Brown who was fed a nice pass by Sam Rennaker. The RoadRunners held a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, outshooting Kenai River 17-7.
A power play goal by Mike Gornall in the 2nd period made it 4-0, with Fernsler and Sutter picking up assists. The Brown Bears caught a break when a pass deflected off a 'Runner defenseman's skate and skidded past Drew Vogler to get Kenai River on the board, but Topeka regained their 4 goal cushion when Joe Hall finished off a 2-on-1 break set up brilliantly by Dominic Lutz and Daniel Brickley. Drew Vogler was exceptional in net, frustrating the Bears with a handful of tremendous timely saves.
In the final frame, Topeka kept their foot on the gas. Jasen Fernsler tipped a Daniel Brickley shot past Brown Bears goalie Sean Healy for a 6-1 advantage at the 1:13 mark, and Sly Sutter nailed his second goal of the game on the power play at 8:52, assisted by Fernsler and Rzavsky. The 'Runners would outshoot Kenai River 39-23, improving to 12-1-1 vs the Brown Bears all-time.
The RoadRunners posted a perfect 4-0-0 record at the NAHL Showcase for the third time in eleven seasons, but so did the Austin Bruins. The tiebreaker is decided by the plus/minus ratio of goals for and goals against, and despite a solid +15, Topeka finished behind Austin who finished with a +18 to collect the tournament banner.
Topeka (6-0-0) will travel to Wichita Falls (3-2-0) on Sept 26-27. Saturday's game will faceoff at 1:05 pm in the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Both games will air live on Sports Radio 1490 KTOP with Arch Ecker calling the play-by-play. Fans can see the games streaming live at Lazy Toad Restaurant on Friday, September 26th (7pm) and at Skinny's Sports Bar & Grill on Saturday, Septermber 27th (1pm).
Also this week, the RoadRunners Coach's Show returnes to the air on Tuesday, September 23, at 6pm broadcast live from Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant.
- Topeka's special teams were stellar at the Showcase, going 6 for 18 on the power play (33.3%) and a perfect 20 for 20 on the penalty kill.
- The first two times Topeka went 4-0-0 at the Showcase, so did Wichita Falls. The first time, Topeka won the tiebreaker and the second time, the Wildcats did.
- The best start in RoadRunner franchise history was in 2008-09 when the team went 7-0-0 to begin the year.
- Goalie Matej Tomek hasn't allowed a goal in 153 minutes and 23 seconds. The franchise record is 217:59, set by Peter Traber.