Holland nets shootout winner, Runners win 5-4

With an opportunity to win it on his stick, forward Gavin Holland buried his chance Saturday night.

Holland scored the second goal in the shootout for Topeka (6-6-0) as they held the Amarillo Bulls scoreless, giving the RoadRunners a 5-4 victory for “Pink in the Rink” night at Landon Arena.

Forward Austin McCarthy got the Runners started in the shootout, flipping a backhanded shot past goaltender Alexie Masanko. After goaltender Emil Gransoe made his second stop, this set the stage for Holland’s winner.

With family looking on from the stands, Holland came in on the left side on his shot and ripped it low blocker side.

“Coach (Josh) Kamrass put his trust in me on that one,” Holland said. “I have quite a bit of confidence in shootouts, and it was great to be able to do that in front of my family.”

Both teams played a rough and chippy game, with numerous momentum swings and physical altercations. Topeka and Amarillo amassed 60 penalty minutes total on the night.

Kamrass said his team started playing into the lack of discipline throughout, something that he knows they’ll need to clean up.

“Penalties kill you,” Kamrass said. “There were a few times where we started to get momentum, and very similar to last night, we lost our focus.”

Topeka opened the contest with two first period tallies, coming off the sticks of forwards Nick Granowicz and Nigel Nelson. Granowicz now sits with 15 points in 12 goals and Nelson has tallied four goals on the year, after having seven all of last season.

Amarillo (5-3-3) struck back with two quick goals in the second, at 6:40 and 8:36, evening the score at two.

Holland gave the Runners a lead going into the second period, scoring a powerplay goal at 17:48 of the middle period, making it 3-2.

After the teams traded goals early in the third, Topeka held a slim 4-3 advantage until late in regulation.

The Bulls fired 17 shots at goaltender Emil Gransoe in the third, and at 17:41, forward Collin Price evened it up at four, sending the game to overtime.

With good scoring chances at both ends of the ice, the game remained tied, sending it to a shootout.

The Runners now head out on a five- game road trip, which begins Oct. 19-21 in Odessa, Texas, as Topeka faces off with the Jackalopes.