Runners gearing up for two game series

The makings of a competitive two-game series are coming together for this weekend at Landon Arena.

Topeka (2-4-0) welcomes the Shreveport Mudbugs (5-1-0) to town this weekend for a series between the NAHL South foes. Friday night will be KSNT/KTMJ night and Saturday is College Night.

Topeka is coming off a 4-0 win in its final game of the NAHL Showcase over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, bringing them some momentum into Friday after dropping the first three games of the showcase.

Shreveport, meanwhile, has won five straight and comes in having only given up seven goals total in six games this season. Goaltender Gustavs Grigals leads the way for the Mudbugs, with a 1.38 goals against average in six games.

The two teams faced off during the preseason in Shreveport, but RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said his team is only focused on this weekend.

“We have gotten our systems down since the preseason, and guys are starting to find their comfort zones,” Kamrass said. “There’s a lot more on the line this weekend.”

With all facets of the game still needing fine-tuning early in the season, Kamrass did state his team has worked a lot of its mindfulness of playing disciplined hockey. Topeka has struggled on the penalty kill, going 23-for-31 on the penalty kill to this point.

“We know that taking penalties cost us a couple of games at the showcase, so that’s been an area of emphasis this week,” Kamrass said. “We’ve talked about it and worked on it quite a bit, but really all areas of the game are emphasized at this time of the year.”

RoadRunners forwards Nick Granowicz and Chad Hillebrand lead the team offensively, coming into Friday, amounting for five of Topeka’s 18 goals scored. Granowicz three goals is already just four goals shy of his seven goals amassed last season.

Kamrass also said that he’s been happy with an intangible aspect he’s seen from his team early on this year: comradery.

“It’s something you talk about all the time, comradery, but it’s really hard to achieve from a staff perspective,” Kamrass said. “It’s more on the players, and they’ve done a great job of building that up this year. We have a close-knit group this year.”