The Topeka RoadRunners came up on the wrong end of a great battle between two of the NAHL\’s best clubs, falling 3-2 in a shootout to the St. Louis Bandits Saturday night at Landon Arena in front of a near record crowd of 3,023.
In the first period, the RoadRunners clearly demonstrated they were ready to play, and though the period was a scoreless one, Topeka outshot the Bandits 9-6 and skated with a sense of urgency that head coach Scott Langer had said was missing on Friday night.
Midway through the second period, Topeka\’s hard work resulted in a go-ahead goal by Ryan White, assisted by Bryce Johnson and Alec Hagaman at 10:18. Just over two minutes later, though, the Bandits jammed home a loose puck in the crease after a couple of stops by Cooper Frederick, who appeared sharp and \”in the zone\”. The goal, at 12:25, was credited to Brad Smith. The game was tied at 1-1 after 2 periods of play. The Bandits had 5 power plays in the second period, including two segments of 5-on-3 advantage, but the ‘Runners were able to kill them off.
But in the third period, as the last of the 5 power plays expired, St. Louis jammed home another doorstep goal seconds after the penalty ran out, not officially a power play goal but in essence may as well have been. Trailing 2-1, the RoadRunners\’ Edgars Lipsbergs blew through a Bandits defenseman and buried a game-tying goal at 8:17. Topeka could not manage a go ahead goal, and both teams battled as the game headed into overtime, and then, ultimately, a shootout.
In the best of 5 shootout, the Bandits had the statistical advantage, going 4-1 in shootouts this season, and they showed why, scoring on two of their first three shots. For Topeka, Ryan White hit a crossbar and Edgars Lipsbergs tried a spin move and the puck got past the Bandit goalie but wide of the net and St. Louis celebrated the weekend sweep, picking up their 30th win.
Topeka (29-7-4) wraps up their 6 game homestand next weekend with a pair of games against the Texas Tornado in the final regular season meetings between the clubs. Topeka is 8-2-0 vs Texas this year and 4-0-0 at home. It\’s Military Appreciation Weekend so active military are offered a discount, and the ‘Runners will wear specially designed uniforms for the occasion. For more information, call 785-286-PUCK.