Topeka RoadRunners forward Alex Frye saw an opening early in overtime Saturday night, and he took it.
Moments later, he was mobbed by his teammates as they celebrated a momentous victory.
Frye helped finish off a sweep of the Lone Star Brahmas with a wrist shot top corner beating goaltender Mitchell Gibson just 12 seconds into overtime, giving Topeka (5-5-0) a thrilling 2-1 victory over Lone Star (3-4-3.)
After an action packed 60 minutes of regulation, it only seemed fitting the game would go to overtime. On the powerplay, Frye said he saw an opening high on the glove side, as he took the shot from the right faceoff circle.
“Before overtime, Coach (Josh Kamrass) told me to try to shoot for the pad if I get a chance, and get the rebound,” Frye said. “I was planning on it, but I saw the corner, trusted my gut and went for it.”
Kamrass said he was pleased to see his team respond Saturday, as Lone Star came out ready to play aggressively and tenacious after Topeka’s 3-2 win Friday.
“Our guys were resilient tonight,” Kamrass said. “Lone Star did a great job of responding and they put a lot of pressure on us, but our guys didn’t back down.”
Goaltender Connor Murphy got the start for the RoadRunners, his first game in a Topeka uniform since coming over from the Cedar Rapids Roughriders organization in the United States Hockey League. Murphy stopped 31 of 32 shots on goal.
“It was an opportunity for Connor, and we brought him in,” Kamrass said. “He’s jumped right in, and that speaks to his character. He made some big saves for us tonight.”
Lone Star struck first Saturday with a powerplay goal in the first period from forward Michael Montambault making it 1-0 at 8:46.
Topeka had a tough time getting quality chances in the first, amassing only four shots on goal.
In the second period, both teams picked up the pace, with some big saves by Murphy and Gibson keeping it a one-goal contest.
Late in the frame, at 16:53, the Runners knotted it at one. After a save by Gibson, the puck found its way to defenseman Matt Barnes, who skated in from the blue line and hammered a shot into the back of the net, leveling the score for the third period.
The third period included a number of man-advantages for both teams, but neither could convert. The final penalty, a bench minor for delay of game, gave Topeka the powerplay at the 19:08 mark. This carried over into overtime, allowing for a 4-on-3 to start the extra session.
Up next, the Runners prepare to face the Amarillo Bulls on Oct. 13-14 at Landon Arena. The team will wear specialty jerseys on Oct. 14, which will be auctioned off after the game. The night, coined as “Pink in the Rink” will include collaborations with the Stormont Vail Foundation.