The Topeka Pilots fought through adversity and found a way to get it done on Saturday night against the Amarillo Bulls.
Topeka (28-13-3) used a strong effort in net from goaltender Josh Langford and got a timely shootout goal from forward Quinn Green, to knock off the Bulls 3-2 at the Budweiser Bull Pen.
With the win, the Pilots split the weekend series with the Bulls and remain one point behind the Shreveport Mudbugs for third place in the NAHL South Division.
Green’s tally in the shootout was the lone goal, as he beat goaltender Max Gutjahr. Gutjahr had not lost a game since Nov. 30th, when the Amarillo (35-7-4) fell to the Lone Star Brahmas. Green’s goal came as he skated in and on his forehand, he beat Gutjahr high on the glove side.
Langford stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout and made several big saves in the extra session, including a sprawling save in the final seconds of the overtime.
Halfway through the overtime period, Amarillo appeared to have won the contest, with defenseman Chace McCardle beating Langford at 2:24, but the goal was immediately waived off by goaltender Rocco Stachowiak. On the play, Bulls forward Nick Trela appeared to knock Langford out of position to make the save, allowing the game to continue.
Trela opened the scoring Saturday, with his 11th of the season at 8:52 of the first period.
After neither team could find the net again in the first, Green picked up his 18th of the season at 3:42 of the second period, beating Gutjahr after Pilots defenseman AJ Martinelli kept the puck in the zone with a nice play from the point.
Amarillo went back on top less than a minute later, with a tally at 4:35, as forward Gleb Murtazin threw the puck on net and it found its way past Langford for a 2-1 Bulls lead.
But at 8:07, forward Shawn Kennedy picked up his 10th of the season, with a 5-on-3 powerplay goal evening the score at 2-2.
The score line remained 2-2 through the remainder of the second and third periods.
The Pilots now return home to Landon Arena for a weekend series on Feb. 14-15 with the Springfield Jr. Blues. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. each night.