The Topeka RoadRunners modest four game win streak came to an abrupt halt Friday night in St. Louis as the Bandits posted a 5-1 win at the Hardee's IcePlex.
Topeka's penalty killing unit had killed off 13 consecutive penalties coming into Friday's game but just :07 seconds into the first St. Louis power play Chris Ciotti redirected a shot from the blue line that caught a piece of goalie Rasmus Tirronen before landing in the net for a 1-0 Bandit lead at 5:34 of the first. Ryan Stouffer then buried a quick wrister from the faceoff circle to Tirronen's right side for a 2-0 edge at 7:44, and Stephen Bopp snapped a quick shot glove side high for a 3-0 lead at 12:04. St. Louis outshot Topeka 12-9 in the first period.
The 'Runners didn't fare much better in the second period. They were stifled offensively but did tighten up a bit on the defensive side, with the only goal of the period coming at 8:24 by Evan Stibbard on a broken play in the slot area. St. Louis led 4-0 after 2, and Topeka managed just 5 shots in the frame.
Topeka's lone highlight came in the third period when Brian Christie forced a shorthanded neutral zone turnover that Dan Dupell finished off to cut the lead to 4-1 with 9:09 left to play. The goal seemed to energize the RoadRunners but a Bandit power play goal at 18:05 by Evan Stibbard on a perfectly executed passing play added the exclamation point to the evening. Topeka was outshot 30-25 in the game. Eric Rohrkemper played in goal for the entire third period, stopping 8 of 9 shots.
The RoadRunners (4-1-0) meet the Bandits (6-1-0) on Saturday at 5:00 to wrap up the weekend series.