For the second night in a row, the Topeka RoadRunners dominated St. Louis in scoring chances and shots on goal, outshooting them 32-12 but on Saturday night, it was St. Louis who found a way to win, a 3-2 battle in regulation.
St. Louis scored first as Brad Smith slipped a wraparound shot off the toe of Evan Karambelas into the net at 6:11, an unassisted short handed tally. Topeka tied it up while on a 5-on-3 power play when Alec Hagaman drove a shot home at 12:17, assisted by Justin Kovacs. St. Louis took advantage of another RoadRunner miscue on a failed clearing attempt andJohn Houston was left alone on the doorstep, beating Karambelas with a short side wrister for a 2-1 Bandit lead.
The second period was played hard but cautious by both sides, neither one wanting to make a game changing mistake. Shots on goal were an even 5 apiece.
On Friday night, the bounces worked against the Bandits. Saturday night, one crazy bounce made all the difference in the game. When a Bandit shot by Ryan Belonger sailed wide of the net, it bounced back out in front and into the net off the skate of the backchecking Bob Marx, giving St. Louis a 3-1 lead at 7:44. Topeka finally found their groove when a Michael Hill goal off a strong assist by Patrick Kirtland with 3:02 to play cut the lead to 3-2 and energized both the building and the team. Topeka swarmed the net outshooting the Bandits 15-4 in the final frame but C.J. Groh held on for the win.
Topeka (39-8-5) still leads St. Louis (38-10-3) by 4 points in the NAHL South, with two pivotal games coming next weekend on the big ice sheet in Chesterfield, MO.