Runners can’t complete comeback, fall 5-4

The Topeka RoadRunners played a solid hockey game Friday, but undisciplined penalties made the difference in the third period.

After tying the game at three early in the frame, Topeka (5-6-0) found itself on a 5-on-3 penalty kill, and it cost them.

Amarillo (5-3-2) scored a goal on the two-man advantage and added another on the continuing man-advantage, taking a 5-3 lead halfway through the frame.

Defenseman Jake Rosenbaum brought the Runners within a goal at 18:59, but a late penalty on forward Alex Frye nixed the push to equalize it, as the Runners fell 5-4 at Landon Arena.

RoadRunners goaltender Connor Murphy was ejected from the game at 7:29, setting up the five-minute Bulls powerplay, as Murphy was called for spearing.

Forward Nick Granowicz was then called for slashing at 11:32.

“We we’re gaining momentum, scoring two big goals there in the third,” RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said. “Then we take a couple of selfish penalties, and it cost us the game, ultimately.”

With tensions high, Kamrass knows his team has to stay composed and keep focused.

“We play hard, but we play good, clean hockey,” he said. “We don’t play the way we played there tonight. That’s not our game.”

After a tense and determined first period from the Runners, the game was scoreless, despite a 15-4 shots advantage.

Topeka opened the scoring early in the second period. Just 53 seconds in, forward Will Schlagenhauf, who celebrated his birthday Friday, beat goaltender Jason Grande for a 1-0 lead.

The next three goals belonged to the Bulls, with Amarillo holding a 3-1 lead by the 13:43 mark of the second.

Heading into second intermission, Kamrass encouraged his team to focus and get back on track in the third.

Defenseman Matt Barnes heeded the advice, beating Grande with a shot from the blue line just 2:03 into the third.

A nice feed then set up forward Nick Schultze, who beat Grande at 6:51, tying it up at three all.

Topeka is back in action again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday versus Amarillo. Saturday is “Pink in the Rink” with Stormont Vail Foundation on hand and special pink jerseys available for auction after the game.