Runners hold on in a scoring frenzy, win 8-5

A frantic first period led the way for a Topeka victory Friday night.

Tallying five goals in the first period and ending the opening frame with a 5-2 lead, Topeka (14-25-4) never looked back, beating the Odessa Jackalopes 8-5 at Eckor County Coliseum.

All seven first period goals came in just over a nine minute span. This was capped for Topeka by two goals from forward Nigel Nelson just a minute and 12 seconds apart at 16:09 and 17:21.

“I thought we came out and played hard to start the game tonight,” RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said. “Fortunately, pucks were bouncing the right way for us, and we were able to get a good start.”

Odessa (15-20-4) goaltenders Jonny Hogue and Jon Flakne had a rocky first period, stopping a combined nine shots on 14 attempts.

Forward Alexei Statsenko also notched his first goal in a RoadRunners uniform, opening the scoring at 10:38 of the first period.

“Alexei did really well tonight,” Kamrass said. “Obviously,  being his first game since coming over from Russia, I’m sure there were a lot of nerves, so we were really proud of how he came out and played.”

Forwards Max Harper and Jeff Makowski also had first period scores.

Odessa forward Ludwig Stenlund led the way for the Jackalopes, tallying a natural hat trick with two goals in the first period and one in the second period.

Harper tallied his 19th goal of the season for Topeka in the second period, extending the lead to 6-2 before the Jackalopes cut the lead to three goals with Stenlund’s third goal.

After leading 6-3 at the end of the second period, Topeka again piled it on early in the third period, with forwards Phil Erickson and Marshall Bowery joining the scoring party, making it 8-3 Topeka.

Odessa would cut the lead to 8-5 with two consecutive goals in the frame, but they could not get any closer, as Topeka held on late.

Goaltender Ryan Snowden got the victory for the Runners, stopping 33 of 38 shots on goal.

“I think our best player tonight, no question, was Ryan Snowden,” Kamrass said. “He gave us a chance to win the game, and that’s always a positive.”

The two teams will face off again on Saturday night in Odessa, as Topeka looks to finish off the series sweep.