Runners Sweep Bees
The standings were tight when Rio Grande Valley came to town. Not so much any more. Tied in the third, the Runners took control and capped a two-game sweep of the Killer Bees and created a more manageable six-point lead for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
The scoreboard was empty until the second period when Yu Hikosaka worked the puck around Nick Schmit to draw first blood for the home team. The goal was Hikosaka's third of the series and the fourth of five points he tallied over the weekend. Rio's Brenden Dunning tied the game at 2:29 in the third (assisted by Connor Pelkey) and set the stage for a tense finish.
But just under five minutes later, Jake Kamrass broke loose on the right side, firing off a shot outside the faceoff circle before tangling with a defender. The puck snuck under Schmit's glove and stick, skittering between his legs for the winning score. Tyler Poulsen would add an empty netter inside the game's final minute to seal the deal at 3-1 Runners.
The win created distance between Topeka and the dogged Killer Bees but, more importantly, narrowed the gap between them and idle Amarillo to just five points in the race for first place in the South. The Runners and Bulls meet next weekend for two games in Texas and again on March 17th and 18th in what could be the series that decides the division.
The Runners hit the road for a quick stop in Amarillo this weekend in a battle for first place in the South Division. Fans in Topeka can catch all the action at Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant on Friday and Saturday night. The boys return on Monday, March 10th to take on the Wichita Falls Wildcats. For more information on tickets, call 785-286-PUCK or visit the Expocentre Box Office.