Trailing after the first and second periods, the Topeka RoadRunners found themselves right in the thick of it in the third period on Friday.
After typing the game at one, then three and then tying it at four, Topeka (1-4-0) surrended a goal late in the third period and could not equalize it a fourth time, falling 5-4 to the Minot Minotauros in game three of the NAHL Showcase.
Untimely penalties ultimately cost the Runners, with Minot notching three powerplay goals on five chances.
“We talked to our group after the game,” RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said. “We took some bad penalties last night and tonight, and it ultimately cost us the game. We were starting to build momentum, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”
Topeka got off to a rough start, trailing 3-1 after one period of play, with forward Alex Frye scoring the lone Runners goal in the first. Frye rifled a shot from the left faceoff circle, beating goaltender Jacob Sibell.
Topeka responded in the second with goals from Zeke Zeier and Austin McCarthy bringing it even at 3-3.
“I liked our effort there in the second and third periods,” Kamrass said. “Our even-strength play was solid, but we have to be better on the penalty kill and staying out of the box.”
A late second period goal from Colby Enns gave the Minotauros the lead heading into the final period.
Forward Chad Hillebrand, who is expected to draw attention with his offensive prowess this season, fired another shot in from the left faceoff circle early in the third to draw the game even at four.
Enns notched the game-winning goal at 13:37 of the third, while on the powerplay.
Topeka finishes the NAHL Showcase against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll have some fresh legs to help factor out the fatigue, and we’ll be ready to play,” Kamrass said. “We have to stick to our process, and we just have to keep heading in the right direction.”