The Topeka RoadRunners win streak to begin the season has ended at 6 with a 3-1 loss in Wichita Falls on Friday night and a 5-1 defeat suffered Saturday afternoon.
On Friday night, for the first time in 7 games, Topeka surrendered the first goal when Austin Beaulieu deflected a Colin Staub pass off the top of Matej Tomek's right leg pad at 11:29 of the first period. The 1-0 lead stood through the first two periods of play. Tomek was solid, stopping 26 of 27 shots in the first 40 minutes including two breakaway chances.
In the third period, Beaulieu struck again, firing a low shot across the body from the left wing circle to give the 'Cats a 2-0 lead. While on a third period power play, Topeka's Jasen Fernsler was clipped with a high stick that resulted in a five minute major and a 5-on-3 power play. Daniel Rzavsky fired a low shot on the blocker side from the midpoint to cut the lead in half,assisted by Ryan Polin.
A scary moment occurred while still on the power play. Matej Tomek was backing into his crease area from below the goal line after playing the puck, and the forechecking Wildcat forwards foot clipped the back of Tomek's, sending him falling backwards where his head appeared to bounce off the ice, and he lay motionless for a few moments. He eventually left the ice under his own power, and Drew Vogler was quickly ushered in with 1:58 left to play. With just over a minute left and teams back at even strength, Vogler came back off for the extra attacker but Wichita Falls defenseman Cam Knight hit the empty net for the 3-1 lead that became the final margin.
On Saturday afternoon, for the second game in a row, the 'Cats struck first at 10:06 on a broken play to take a 1-0 lead in a period they dominated, outshooting Topeka 12-4. In the second period, Austin Beaulieu buried a shorthanded breakaway for a 2-0 lead that stood at the end of two periods.
In the third period, Topeka sprung to life with a series of quality chances, punctuated by Daniel Rzavsky's team leading 5th goal of the year at 7:42 to pull the 'Runners within one, but Wichita Falls regained their two goal cushion at 11:41 on a NIkita Litviak goal, and Beaulieu added his second of the game for a 4-1 edge. A Tommy Apap shot found the back of the net through traffic at 18:19 for the final 5-1 margin. Topeka was outshot 34-22.
Topeka (6-2-0) heads home for a weekend series against Amarillo, kicking off a 4 game homestand. The series against the Bulls will feature a special National Guard sponsored puck giveaway on Saturday, October 4th.