The Topeka Pilots are ready for a hard-fought series this weekend against the Amarillo Bulls.
Topeka (6-1-0) enters the two-game stint with Amarillo (4-1-0) having won all four of its games in the NAHL Showcase last weekend in Blaine, Minn. Amarillo also touted an undefeated record in the showcase, giving a level of excitement to the head-to-head match ups.
Excited for the test, Pilots Head Coach Simon Watson said he wants the Pilots to focus on fundamentals and playing their game.
“Amarillo has been doing well so far, but we want to stay focused on us,” Watson said. “We’re looking to gain experience and build off the momentum we’ve created. We want to make sure we’re doing the right things this week in practice and really compete when we step on the ice Friday and Saturday.”
With Amarillo averaging over four goals a game thus far and Topeka giving up an average of just over two goals a game, the series will allow both clubs to test their strengths and weaknesses. Watson indicated he liked what he saw out of his defensive core and goaltending in the showcase, as his team gave up just five goals total.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that helped make sure grade-A chances were kept to a minimum,” Watson said. “We protected ‘the house,’ and it worked. If we can keep teams to the outside and the perimeter, we’ll be in good shape.”
Offensively, Topeka has also had a strong start, with forwards Quinn Green and Austin McCarthy combining for nine of the Pilots 27 total goals. Green, a rookie out of West Chicago, Ill., leads the team with five goals on the season.
“Quinn is a player that competes at a high level every night,” Watson said. “We want to help him grow into a complete player, and he’s certainly shown with his work ethic that he can become that.”
With the support of a solid work ethic, the Pilots are eager to step on the ice and square up with the Bulls on Friday.
“Every game you play against a team in your division will be a challenge,” Watson said. “We’re excited for the challenge, and if we stick to our identity, I think we’ll have success this weekend.”