After a solid 4-1 win on Friday night, the Topeka RoadRunners held off a vigilant Springfield squad, posting a 4-3 win on Saturday at the Nelson Center, extending their win streak to six.
Topeka started the scoring when Erik Higby deflected a Michael Hill shot at 3:42, and Springfield matched it with a Denys Petrukhno power play blast at 10:33. The \’Runners retook the lead quickly, when at 11:07 Tony Thomas buried a wraparound. The goal trading continued as Cody Hotchkin poked in a rebound at 13:40 and the first period ended tied at 2-2.
The second period saw the \’Runners scrambling to match the Springfield intensity, and the only goal came when Mike Schaber swatted in a bouncing rebound at 12:59 while on a 5-on-3 power play and the Jr. Blues took a 3-2 lead into the locker room after two periods.
In the third period, Topeka took complete charge, controlling the games flow, winning races to loose pucks, winning battles along the boards. Outshooting Springfield 19-4 in the frame, it was matter of time before the \’Runners would get the game tying goal, coming on a power play at 9:45 off the stick of Bryce Johnson, finishing a pretty crossing pass from Edgars Lipsbergs. The game winner was buried by Michael Hill on a onetimer set up by Justin Kovacs at 15:44 while on a 5-on-3 power play. Springfield pulled the goalie with a minute left but a bad line change caught the Jr. Blues with too many men on the ice, and the subsequent argument from the Springfield bench resulted in a game ejection for coach Andy Maher and another two minute penalty that put the Jr. Blues down 5-on-3 for the remainder of the game. Despite allowing 2 goals on the first three shots, Eric Rohrkemper posted his 11th win of the year, stopping 13 of 16 shots.
Topeka (35-7-4) returns to the ice next weekend in Albert Lea (11-27-5). Topeka swept three games against the Thunder in October but the team has experienced a recent surge with the infusion of new players. It will be the first visit into Albert Lea for the \’Runners.