Back on home ice for the first time in over a month, the Topeka Pilots got off to a quick start Friday night and stayed in control for the entire contest.
Opening up the game with a goal just over two minutes in, Topeka (24-10-3) had tallies in every period and kept the Odessa Jackalopes at bay, winning 4-1 at Landon Arena.
With the victory and a loss by the Shreveport Mudbugs Friday night, Topeka moved within one point of Shreveport for third place in the NAHL South Division standings, with a game in hand.
The game-winning goal for the Pilots came at 11:36 of the first, when defenseman Vincent Corcoran snuck in from the blue line and took a nice feed from forward Austin McCarthy. Corcoran snapped a shot past goaltender Zach Stern for a 2-0 lead entering the first intermission.
Leading 3-1 after two, another important moment came just 43 seconds into the third, as forward Quinn Green netted his 13th of the season to make it 4-1.
“We showed a bit of rust being off last week, but we stayed in it,” Pilots head coach Simon Watson said. “That was a big powerplay goal there in the third to give us some insurance and breathing room.”
Topeka opened the scoring at 2:18 of the first period as forward Lucas Sandoval deflected a shot past Stern. The original shot came from defenseman Jordan Kovacs, as it was tipped in front and trickled over the goal-line.
After the aforementioned goal from Corcoran midway through the first, Topeka extended the lead to 3-0 at 7:19 of the second period, with forward Dominic Sandoval beating Stern off a pass from his twin brother Lucas.
Odessa got on the board at 14:08 of the second, with forward Ben Doherty netting his first of the season, but the Jackalopes would not get any closer.
Topeka will be vying for a series sweep on Saturday night, with puck drop at 7:05 p.m. at Landon Arena.
Saturday’s contest will be “Throwback Night”, with 70’s, 80’s and 90’s music and festivities throughout the night, including $2 popcorn and fountain drinks. The game will also feature specialty throwback uniforms, with a jersey auction immediately following the contest.