The final home weekend series of the regular brought a familiar foe into Landon Arena, as the Amarillo Bulls came to town for a two game set. Topeka dominated play and posted a solid 5-0 win in front of over 1,500 fans.
The ‘Runners took a 1-0 lead when Luka Maver buried a shorthanded goal at 8:15 of the first period with a defender leaning on him, an off-wing wrister to the far side assisted by Shawn Brennan. Late in the period, Jack Nickels battled to hold the puck onside in the offensive zone during a line change, allowing Jeff Makowski to bury a shot set up by quick passes from Marshall Bowery and JB Baker and Topeka led 2-0 after one period. The ‘Runners hit four pipes in the period, and could have easily blown the doors off early.
Topeka erupted for another three goals in the middle frame, the first a power play bomb from Dominic Lutz, set up by a crisp crossing pass from Sami Tavernier, with Tyler Hayes assisting at 3:31. Max Harper added a goal at 7:24 to make it 4-0, chasing starting goalie Anton Martinsson. Harper had collected the puck off the right wing wall and walked into the high slot where he snapped a wrister through the five hole. The ‘Runners final goal was set up by Marshall Bowery, who stole the puck on the end boards in his own end, raced down the left wing eluding two Amarillo players before dishing a backhand pass to Johnny Walker who deftly slipped it behind Brian Baker at 11:03 for a 5-0 lead.
In the final period, Topeka killed off 8 minutes of major penalty kill time successfully, helping Juho Niku post his first shutout of the season, a 36-save effort. At the other end, Amarillo goalies made some outstanding saves as well, including two shorthanded breakaways in the third period.
Topeka (33-23-1) and Amarillo (11-42-4) meet for the eighth and final time Saturday night in Topeka. Game time is 7:05 pm and will be broadcast live on FASTHockey.com and 88.9 FM inside the arena.