After narrowly escaping Friday\’s contest with a nail-biting 3-2 shootout win, Topeka made sure on Saturday to give themselves some breathing room, knocking off the Texas Tornado 8-2 at Landon Arena.
In the first period, the flow of the game was starkly different than the previous night, and that allowed the speed of the RoadRunners to come into play. A 2-on-1 break saw Bryce Johnson feed a tape to tape pass to Edgars Lipsbergs who finished the play with a sweet one timer for a 1-0 lead at 8:40 of the first, then at 11:50 a similar play from Tony Thomas was buried by Nate Milam for a 2-0 edge. Texas managed a powerplay goal at 14:07 as Andrew Mueller slipped one through traffic, and the Topeka lead was 2-1 after 1. The period saw two fights, the first a solid slugfest between Topeka captain Kurtis Anton and Ian Braun, followed by Jacob Poe vs Rock Einerson tilt. If it was Texas\’ goal to use the scraps as a catalyst for a comeback, the strategy failed. As was the case the night before, Texas outshot Topeka in the first 20 minutes.
The second period was deja vu all over again, as the \’Runners dominated play, outshooting Texas 18-6 and potting three for a 5-1 lead. The first a nice shorthanded goal set up by Bryce Johnson again for Nate Milam who put a pretty shot upstairs at 8:13. Alec Hagaman found a loose puck at 15:37 in the crease for a 4-1 lead, and Erik Higby buried a Bryce Johnson crossing pass on the powerplay at 19:49.
Cole Schneider scored another power play goal at 1:32 to make it 6-1. Texas scored a power play goal of their own at 6:02, but 2 minutes later Lipsbergs danced through the Tornado defense and beat relief goalie Branden Amatto for a 7-2 edge, and for good measure, Nate Milam registered the hat trick at 10:59 on a nice backhander moving across the high slot. Texas was held to 3 shots in the 3rd, and the \’Runners complete the weekend sweep with an 8-2 victory.
Topeka (5-2-1) heads to Wichita Falls next weekend to face the Wildcats (3-3-2) on Friday and Saturday. Both games will be aired live in Topeka on ESPN 1490 KTOP.
Topeka stopped the Tornado\’s Jack Prince scoring streak at 5 games.
With 222 penalty minutes, the \’Runners are the most penalized team in the division.
Nate Milam\’s hat trick was the first for the \’Runners this season.
Goalie Cooper Frederick is expected to return to the ice for practice this week.