With an ominous eight game road swing on the schedule comprising the whole month of February, the RoadRunners got off on the right foot, posting a 5-0 win in Wichita Falls on Friday night.
Forward Michael Hill (who began his junior career in Wichita Falls) requires zero extra motivation when facing his former club. He got the \’Runners on the board at 4:31, set up nicely on a feed from behind the net from Erik Higby, also assisted by Justin Kovacs. Topeka led 1-0 after 20 minutes, though Wichita Falls was threatening with 3 consecutive power plays in the period, including a 5-on-3 for 1:31 that carried over into the second period.
The second period, though, belonged to the RoadRunners as they put on a power play clinic, scoring on all three power play chances in under :40 seconds each time. The first was a pretty shot by Michael Hill over the blocker side shoulder of Wildcat goalie P.J. Musico at 1:35. Kevin Ryan drove home a slapper from the blue line at 5:54, and then Bryce Johnson added yet another at 8:36 for a commanding 4-0 lead.
In the third period, Topeka scored a fourth consecutive power play goal when Erik Higby snapped in a feed from behind the goal line at 6:47 for a 5-0 margin that proved to be the final score of the game. Goalie Evan Karambelas stopped all 25 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. He made a number of highlight reel saves and also got a bit of help from the pipes behind him which rang out a couple of times as well. He was named number one star of the game.
Topeka (32-7-4) improves to 7-0-1 vs the Wildcats this season. The two teams square off again Saturday night in Texas.
* With St. Louis losing 3-2 to Springfield on Friday at ScottTrade Center (home of the NHL\’s St. Louis Blues), the \’Runners lead over St. Louis increases to 5 points, though the Bandits still have 4 games in hand.
* Topeka\’s power play outburst moves them into the #1 slot in that category.
* The shutout was the RoadRunners fourth of the season.
* Evan Karambelas also shutout the Wildcats in the teams last meeting, a 8-0 win in Topeka on January 2.