TOPEKA, Kan. – Fairbanks scored three goals in the opening period and never looked back as the Ice Dogs beat Topeka 7-1 in a North American Hockey League game Friday night at the Kansas ExpoCentre.
The Ice Dogs (2-0) poured 18 shots on Topeka starting goaltender Mike Latorella in the first period alone as Fairbanks pinned the RoadRunners in for most of the opening 20 minutes. Forward Cayden Cahill was left uncovered at the 6:34 mark and re-directed the puck past Latorella from the top of the crease. Less than three minutes later Robert Blueger, with help from Ryan Kero and Nick Rogers, made it 2-0 and the Ice Dogs were on their way. Blueger scored his second with 3:38 left in the period for a three-goal cushion.
The RoadRunners made it 3-1 on a nice finish from Marcus Russell (Joe Thielen, Andrew Hart assists) in the final stages of the first, but that was all they would get past Fairbanks goaltender CJ Boothe, who finished with 20 saves.
The second period wasn’t much better for the RoadRunners, scoring twice within a 62-second span, finished off by a 30-foot bomb by defenseman Nolan Schaeffer that chased Latorella (26 saves). Mike Rockwell entered the Topeka crease and was solid the rest of the way, finishing with nine saves on 11 shots.
The two teams round up their three-game series Saturday night at the Kansas ExpoCentre with a 7 p.m. start.