The Topeka Pilots got caught in a physical battle with the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday night and couldn’t find a groove offensively.
A night after knocking off the Brahmas 4-1 on Friday, Topeka (13-5-2) could not get it done again on Saturday, falling by the same score line of 4-1 at Landon Arena.
The highlight of Saturday’s game was the physicality, with the two teams combining for over 150 total penalty minutes.
The biggest accumulation of those penalties came at 6:18 of the second period, with the Pilots trailing 3-1. After Pilots forward Nick Nardecchia was hit and knocked to the ice, multiple players from each team scuffled before several fights broke out.
In total, four fights were called on the play and three game misconduct penalties were issued on the play.
“As a young man, you will get tested,” Pilots head coach Simon Watson said. “As a group, tonight was a big test for our character. We competed for each other and stuck together as a team, despite the outcome.”
Topeka trailed 2-0 after two Lone Star tallies in the first period from forward Joey Baez. Forward Kyler Yeo then cut into that lead at 16:12, with his first home goal of the season and third tally overall.
Yeo knocked home a rebound after a pad save from goaltender Ludvig Persson, giving the Pilots some late life in the first.
That was as close as they would get, with the Brahmas tacking on another at 17:59 of the first period, as Mitchell Digby beat Pilots goaltender Guy Blessing.
Baez completed a hat trick at 10:01 of the second period, his 11th goal of the season.
Facing seven penalty kills, the Pilots could not find a rhythm, as the 4-1 scoreline held to the final whistle.
Topeka heads on the road next week to face off against the New Mexico Ice Wolves for the first time on November 8-9. Face off is set for 8:30 p.m. CST.