RoadRunners respond, post first shutout of season

TOPEKA, Kan. – Topeka goaltender Mike Rockwell outdueled his Springfield counterpart in the battle of 6-foot-5 goalies Saturday night as the RoadRunners used Max Harper’s shootout goal to defeat the Jr. Blues 1-0 in a North American Hockey League game at the Kansas ExpoCentre.

The RoadRunners were looking to rebound after Friday night’s heartbreaking loss, allowing 44 shots on goal and 4 goals in the final period en route to a 4-2 defeat. Saturday night, however, the hosts buckled down.

After 60 minutes of regulation play, an additional five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, Rockwell and Springfield’s Devin Cooley stood tall as they both turned aside all 28 shots thrown at them.

Skaters from both sides didn’t have any luck until in the three-man shootout, either, until Harper skated in on Cooley. The 20-year-old from Rochester Hills, Mich., got Cooley to commit with a couple of fakes, and finished the game off with an easy backhander into an open net.

“Max showed great composure with the puck, especially considering the tough ice conditions,” said Topeka head coach Josh Kamrass. “That was a much-needed win for us. We cut down out shots-against, and got solid goaltending. A very big two points.”

Rockwell, from Poughquad, N.Y., came up big several times in posting his fourth win of the season. He shut down both of Springfield’s power-play opportunities in the second period, and helped the RoadRunners go 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.

The RoadRunners (6-8) will hit the road for the next six weeks, including a three-in-three next weekend when they visit Lone Star Friday and Saturday and then Shreveport Sunday.