When the Oklahoma Sooners hockey team took the ice Saturday night in Landon Arena, it was clear that this team was a lot bigger and stronger than the Tulsa Rampage team that Topeka had manhandled the two prior evenings. But any question as to how the RoadRunners would respond to the competition was answered quickly, as Tony Thomas knocked in a rebound just 1:16 into the game, assisted by Martin Sundstedt and newcomer Michael Vandas. Late in the period, while killing a penalty Alec Hagaman blasted a shot past the OU netminder at 18:09 for a 2-0 lead. The ‘Runners defense was once again on their game, holding the Sooners to 5 first period shots. Topeka had 17.
In the second period, it was Hagaman again, this time on the power play assisted by Edgars Lipsbergs at 10:49. At the 17:00 minute mark, Bryce Johnson blew past an OU defenseman and blistered a shot home for a 4-0 lead that stood through the end of the period. The ‘Runners were dominant in the second period, outshooting OU 19-2. The Sooners lit the lamp at 3:24 of the third period but less than a minute later, Topeka scored again, this time just :10 seconds into a power play, as Patrick Kirtland muscled the puck in, assisted by Lipsbergs and Nickolas Gatt. The ‘Runners added another short handed goal with 2:23 to go, this one scored by Nate Milam. Goaltender Evan Karambelas faced only 10 shots in the victory, while Topeka had 43 shots on OU. The Runners went 2 for 7 on the powerplay and killed off all 7 shorthanded situations, and scoring two shorthanded goals.
Topeka finishes their preseason at a perfect 3-0-0, outscoring their opponents 23-2 and outshooting them 158-27. While it\’s acknowledged that those numbers came against opponents that may not be NAHL caliber, the preseason games served their purpose, allowing the coaching staff to evaluate players and giving the team an opportunity to execute the strategies they\’d been working on in practice for three weeks. For the third year in a row, Topeka heads to the NAHL Showcase on the heels of an unblemished preseason. The first game of the Showcase for Topeka will be against the Motor City Metal Jackets at 4:30 pm Wednesday. All the Showcase games will be aired live on B2LiveTV.com and ESPN 1490 KTOP radio.