The Topeka RoadRunners played Friday night’s contest with plenty of grit and tenacity.
Following the designation of team captains Friday, Topeka (4-5-0) played a hard-fought 60 minutes against the defending NAHL Robertson Cup Champion Lone Star Brahmas, winning 3-2 at Landon Arena.
Topeka led 3-1 with just over a minute to play, but Lone Star (3-4-2) cut into the lead at 18:58, with a goal from forward Jared Domin setting up a tense final minute.
With goaltender Mitchell Gibson spending the last 2:57 on the bench, the Brahmas could not tie it, as Topeka grabbed the victory.
Goaltender Emil Gransoe dazzled in net for the Runners, stopping 33 of 35 shots, including some big saves in the waning minutes.
“We competed and played hard tonight,” RoadRunners coach Josh Kamrass said. “Our guys did a great job tonight of battling. We earned our opportunities.”
Before Friday’s game, the RoadRunners announced forward Nick Granowicz and defenseman Jake Rosenbaum as co-captains, while forward Nigel Nelson was announced as the assistant captain.
All three are returners from last year’s roster.
“It means a lot to wear that ‘C’ out there,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s about responsibility and leading by example, and it’s something I’ve been working on, so I’m honored.”
In the first period of Friday’s game, Lone Star opened the scoring, with a goal at 19:30 from forward Ture Lindon making it 1-0 Brahmas.
Granowicz got his team-leading fifth goal of the season at 5:16 of the second period, evening the game at one.
“I worked hard in the offseason, tried to improve my shot, gain some weight and get faster,” Granowicz said. “It’s paid off so far.”
Forward Dallas Tulik picked up his first goal in a RoadRunners uniform at 13:58 of the second period, ripping a shot past Gibson for a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Nelson picked up a fluky goal in the third period, making it 3-1 Runners at 6:58. A shot by Nelson deflected up into the air and came down behind Gibson, bouncing into the net for a 3-1 lead.
Kamrass said his team will enjoy the win tonight, but he knows they will need to clean up facets of their game for Saturday night’s game.
Topeka will be looking to pick up its first sweep of the season.
“You never want to critique a win, but at the same time, we can always improve,” Kamrass said. “I think our club will have to clean up a few things from tonight. We know we’ll be in for a battle tomorrow.”