In a highly anticipated weekend matchup between NAHL South Division powerhouses, the first battle went to the visitors as St. Louis won 4-1, notching their 14th consecutive win.
St. Louis brought a tenacious forecheck from the opening faceoff, and it paid off at 6:04 of the first period when John Houston fired a pass across to Craig Kitto on the weak side who hammered it home for a 1-0 lead. Jordan Bourgonje was credited with a tally at 14:31 that was controversial but allowed to stand. The controversy stemmed from the puck being allegedly kicked in, but arguments were to no avail. St. Louis outshot Topeka 7-6 and led 2-0 after one.
In the second period, the RoadRunners turned up the heat, outshooting the Bandits 13-4 and using speed to create some power play opportunities, the third of which yielded a goal by Tony Thomas as he redirected a Bryce Johnson shot from the left point at 18:26 to saw the Bandit lead in half. The score remained 2-1 after 2. The power play was the 12th of the year for Thomas.
The third, however, saw an opportunistic St. Louis squad take advantage of a RoadRunner gaffe in their own zone, allowing Isak Quakenbush a shot from the slot using a screen for an insurance goal at 8:19. Topeka pulled goalie Evan Karambelas for the extra attacker late in the third but a successful Bandit zone clear sprung Joe Kalisz toward the empty net for the 4-1 lead sealing the win for the Bandits.
Topeka (29-7-3) and St. Louis (29-5-1) meet again Saturday night at Landon Arena. The RoadRunners are 15-0-0 in Saturday night games this season. Puck drops at 7:05 pm.