Opening Night has treated the RoadRunners well. They are a perfect 3-0-0 in Home Openers since relocating to Topeka, the latest win a 3-2 shootout triumph over the Texas Tornado on Friday.
In a somewhat choppy first period, the young Topeka team seemed a bit out of sync as the Tornado controlled the play, outshooting the ‘Runners 9-5 and netting the periods only goal at 5:42, a Steven Behm tally on a rebound after a crazy bounce from behind the net. First period jitters were blasted away in the locker room and Topeka took the ice with renewed vigor and focus, dominating play and tying the game at 11:33 on goal by Cole Schneider in his first game as a ‘Runner. Topeka outshot the Tornado 19-5 in the second period, and didn\’t slow down in the third. Holding Texas to just 4 shots in the final frame, Topeka took a 2-1 lead on a powerplay goal by Ryan White at 13:07 and kept the pressure on Texas down the stretch. Unable to pull the goalie for the extra attacker until the clock had run down to :30 seconds to play, the outcome seemed certain until Jack Prince found the back of the net for the fifth time in the last five games to tie the game at 2-2 with 9.3 seconds to go. After a relatively uneventful overtime period, the teams entered the best of five shootout.
Texas had their chances. Three of their seven shooters scored, and three times they were in position to clinch the victory with either a goal or a save, and couldn\’t seal the win. When Topeka had the chance in Round 7 to finish it off, they called on Cole Schneider who ripped a snapshot low on the glove side for the game winning tally. After being stopped on three consecutive attempts, the ‘Runners finished the three they needed to stay alive, ultimately posting the 3-2 win.
Topeka (4-2-1) and Texas (3-2-2) meet again Saturday night, the RoadRunners final home game before spending the next two weekends on the road with South Division opponents Wichita Falls and Springfield. Wichita Falls (3-2-2) dropped a 3-2 shootout decision at home to St. Louis (5-0-0) while Springfield (4-2-1) pummeled Janesville 9-3 at the Nelson Center.