RoadRunners Are South Division Champions
Defying the odds and the momentum of the series, the RoadRunners stepped off the bus in Amarillo and delivered a knockout blow to the defending league champs, claiming the fifth and final game by a score of 6-2. Topeka earned their first South Division title since the 2007-2008 season by winning every game on Amarillo's home ice.
"I'm proud to have the opportunity to coach such a resilient group of young men," said head coach Scott Langer. "They were focused from the time they got off the bus."
It looked like this one might go the other way early, however, as Mike Davis put the Bulls ahead on their first power play at 12:28. But the Runners wasted little time in bouncing back, tying and then taking control of the game on the backs of James Ring and Yu Hikosaka who scored at 16:10 and 18:38 respectively to end the first with a 2-1 lead.
In the second, Sly Sutter stole the puck in the Amarillo zone and rifled it past goaltender Collin Delia to stretch the margin to two. The goal would end Delia's season as he was pulled for Paul Berrafato. Things didn't fare much better for the Bulls veteran when Hikosaka struck again six minutes later, taking a bouncing pass from Clint Garris in front of the net and splitting the pipes for a three point lead heading into the third. Hikosaka tallied three points in the game (two goals and one assist) and Garris chimed in two assists of his own.
The score remained 4-1 until late in the final period when Jerad Tafoya rang the bell with the team's fifth score of the night (assisted by Michal Uhrik and Cody Champagne at 14:56). Mike Davis added his second goal of the night for Amarillo but it was too little and too late. With Berrafato pulled for an extra attacker in the waning minutes, Tyler Poulsen put an exclamation point on the championship with an empty netter at 18:22. The Runners now move on to the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals where they will host the Austin Bruins in a best-of-three series.
"The best part about this group is they have that 'we are not done' mentality," added Langer.
The Runners will take on the Austin Bruins of the Central Division in the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals. The best-of-three series will take place at Landon Arena this weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (if necessary) with each game beginning at 7:05pm. For more information on tickets, call 785-286-PUCK or visit www.topekaroadrunners.com.