The Runners had their backs to the wall in the last game of the regular season but managed to fight their way out, earning a first round bye and home ice in the second round of the South Division Playoffs.
Tied at two after overtime, the Bulls struck first on their first attempt. The Runners evened things up on their second attempt thanks to a successful shot by Dan Rzavsky. Drew Vogler held strong on the Bulls next four attempts while Sam Rennaker put Topeka ahead and the Runners salvaged what could have been a disappointing closing weekend.
Fittingly, Rennaker struck first in the game, splitting the pipes at 5:12 of the first period (assisted by Cam Strong and Ryan O'Connor) to give Topeka an early 1-0 lead. The Bulls tied things up late in the second before charging ahead with a goal in the first minute of the third frame. At 11:52, Will Scherer knotted the game at two (assisted by Tyler Irvine and Yu Hikosaka) to force overtime. Neither team broke through in the extra five minutes necessitating the five-man shootout.
Vogler completed a strong sophmore season in Topeka with a 15-8-4 record, posting 712 saves against 74 goals allowed for a 2.60 goals-against-average. Rzavsky finished with the team lead in goals (22) including the most game winners (6), Jasen Fernsler was the team leader in assists (37) and total points (54), Ryan Polin topped Runner defensemen in +/- at +22, and Matej Tomek had a dominant campaign with a 24-7-2 record and a 1.83 goals-against-average.
The Runners get together this Wednesday night for their annual End-of-Year Banquet at the Shawnee Country Club. The festivities begin at 6pm and will be catered by Jose Peppers. Fans can purchase their tickets by calling 785-286-PUCK or by visiting the RoadRunners offices at 1800 SW Exoduster Blvd. Tickets start at $10 for children under 12, $12 for season ticket holders, and $15 for adults.
The team has the weekend off before beginning their postseason run. For more information on how to purchase your playoff tickets, call 785-286-PUCK or visit www.topekaroadrunners.com.