With a depleted bench of only 15 skaters (18 is normal), the Topeka RoadRunners mustered enough energy to complete the weekend sweep of the Texas Tornado, winning Saturday 3-2 in overtime.
After a late melee on Friday, Topeka was left without the services of Kurtis Anton, Jacob Poe and Cory Ramsey. With only 17 able bodies to suit up (including 2 goalies), the RoadRunners went to work on Saturday against a determined Tornado squad that took a 1-0 lead at 8:14 on a Justin Jones goal. Texas outshot Topeka 17-10 in that first period, due largely to a pair of 5-on-3 power plays for the home team and 4-1 power play margin.
In the second period, though, Topeka found its groove, with Bryce Johnson scoring a beautiful wrist shot high on the glove side on Dan Sullivan to tie the game at 1-1, set up nicely by Erik Higby and Kevin Ryan at 2:42. Edgars Lipsbergs gave the \’Runners a 2-1 lead when he forced a turnover at 15:57 that he quickly rocketed \”bar down\”, meaning off the crossbar and down into the net. Topeka led 2-1 after 2.
The Tornado caught a break just :46 into the third when, on the power play, J.D. Howard managed to slip a bouncing rebound past Cooper Frederick to tie the game at 2-2. A spirited third period led to a sudden death overtime that begain with Texas on a 4-on-3 power play for 1:53. Another penalty (Chris Bond for boarding) in OT against Topeka kept it 4-on-3 until Texas \’ Jack Prince was assessed a hooking call at 2:56 of the OT frame. The teams skated 3-on-3 until the Bond penalty expired giving Topeka the 4-on-3 advantage. An Alec Hagaman shot rang off the pipe in the final minute, and on the ensuing faceoff Erik Higby drove home a shot from the right point assisted by Kevin Ryan and Alec Hagaman sealing the 3-2 overtime win and bumping the Topeka win streak to 11.
Topeka (28-5-3) heads home to start a 6 game homestand with a pair of games against Springfield (14-18-5).
- With an impressive +24 rating, Erik Higby and Kevin Ryan are tied for the NAHL lead in that category. Jacob Poe, Cole Schneider, Tony Thomas and Chris Bond are all also in the leagues Top 10. Bryce Johnson is tied for 11th.
- The full impact of the leagues suspensions after Friday\’s late game scrap have yet to be finalized. The league office is reviewing game footage to properly assess suspensions.
- Erik Higby\’s OT game was his 20th overall, most on the team.
- The win for goalie Cooper Frederick was his third straight. He is now 8-3-1 and moved up to 11th in GAA in the NAHL. His season long record is 4 straight wins. He went 8-0-2 in his first 10 full games dating back to the 2008-09 season.