TOPEKA, Kan. – Topeka defenseman Matt Barnes capped a wild night by scoring with 14 seconds remaining in overtime Friday night as the RoadRunners rallied past Corpus Christi 7-6 in penalty-filled NAHL game at the Kansas ExpoCentre.
The RoadRunners (5-7) overcame an early 3-1 deficit, saw their starting goalie Ryan Snowden (18 saves) ejected in a first-period melee, and overcame 10 Corpus Christi power plays on the night. The Ice Rays poured 61 shots on both Snowden and winning goalie Mike Rockwell, who came up large when Corpus had an overtime power-play.
“It was certainly an entertaining game, and gut-check time for us,” said Topeka head coach Josh Kamrass. “We liked the mindset of our team tonight after two tough losses. We competed hard, and that’s all we can ask.”
The two teams combined for 196 penalty minutes. Corpus finished 5 for 10 on the power play, while Topeka was 3 for 7.
Topeka defenseman Jake Rosenbaum sent teammate Jeff Makowski in on a power-play breakaway three minutes into the game, and Makowski fired a bullet past the glove of Corpus starting goalie Cam Burggrabe. The IceRays, however, responded with three goals – two coming on the power play – before the end of the period for a 3-1 lead at the break.
The two teams roughed it up with 29 seconds left in the first after a big hit landed a IceRays player in the Topeka bench, and the visitors took exception. A pile of players mixed it up, including Snowden, which landed more than a half-dozen players in the penalty box, Snowden ejected and the RoadRunners with a 5-minute power play.
Rookie DJ Busdeker scored his first of two goals with help from captain Marshall Bowery and Max Harper 2:19 into the second to make it a one-goal game, and four minutes later Marcus Russell (from Christian Sanda) tied the game with a hard-working short-handed goal.
The IceRays regained the lead when David Thomson scored his 7th of the season, but the RoadRunners responded. Busdeker and Bowery scored 28 seconds apart halfway through the period and the hosts entered the third period with a 5-4 lead.
More penalties dominated the score sheet in the third period, and both teams capitalized. Corpus’ Josh Trip and Topeka’s Alex Frye traded power-play goals early in the period, but it was IceRays forward Nathan Bryer who sent the game to overtime by sniping a shot past a screened Rockwell with just over 4 minutes to play.
After Rockwell and his teammates snuffed out a Corpus power play halfway through overtime, Barnes and teammates Will Schlagenhauf and Andrew Hart worked their way into the IceRays zone, with Barnes firing a high shot past Burggrabe’s glove to finally end it.