The Topeka Pilots and Corpus Christi IceRays needed more than regulation time again on Saturday, after the two teams played to overtime on Friday.
But after falling 4-3 in overtime Friday, Topeka finished Saturday’s contest in the win column.
Settling it in a shootout, Pilots forward Alexander Oberg netted the game-winning goal, while Pilots goaltender Tyler Bost stopped all three shootout shots he faced, as the Pilots defeated the IceRays 4-3 at Stormont Vail Events Center.
“It’s huge to get two points tonight and three points overall for the series,” Pilots head coach Simon Watson said. “It’s never an easy game against a division opponent, so we knew it’d be a battle.”
On a 3-on-1 break, Corpus Christi opened the scoring at 8:50 of the first period. Forward Shane Bull netted his fourth goal of the season on the play, after tallying a hat trick in Friday’s contest.
Forward Noah Bull, Shane Bull’s brother, had the primary assist on the play, feeding the puck to the slot for a shot that beat Bost five-hole.
“The starts haven’t been our best point the last two games, and we know that,” Watson said. “We got better and better as the game went on, but I know we’d like to settle in earlier.”
Bost, native of Mahwah, N.J., had a strong remainder of the first, stopping the remaining 11 shots faced.
The IceRays outshot the Pilots 12-7 in the first period. The best chance for Topeka (1-0-1) came off the stick of forward Kaiden Scott, who narrowly missed tying the game late in the period.
Forward Shawn Kennedy then made a nice individual effort to set up a quality scoring chance early in the second, but Forman stood to the task to keep it 1-0.
Forward Luke Suter, who had an assist on Friday, netted his first goal of the season to even the score at 7:46 of the second. After a shot from forward Dominic Sandoval dropped in front of Forman, Suter poked it home to tie the game.
Forward Connor Zilisch gave the Pilots a 2-1 lead at 13:10 of the second, deflecting a shot from forward Austin McCarthy past Forman.
The game remained 2-1 late into the frame, but Corpus Christi evened it up at 18:40, with forward Evan Carroll taking a slick past from forward Kyle Schroeder and beating Bost from the slot.
With the score evened at two, the all-decisive third period proved to be tense.
Defenseman Jordan Gonzalez netted his second goal of the season at 1:44, ripping a shot past Forman’s glove for a 3-2 Pilots lead.
Just over two minutes later, the IceRays fired right back with a powerplay goal, making it 3-3, as forward Ryan Coughlin had the tally at 3:40.
With the game deadlocked at three, neither team found the game-winner in regulation.
Topeka now prepares for a one-game series at 7:05 p.m. Monday against the Amarillo Bulls. Doors will open early at 5:30 p.m. Monday. $2 soda, $2 beer, and $2 popcorn will be available all night.