The Topeka RoadRunners posted a 6-0 win in their first preseason game Thursday night at Landon Arena.
The Tulsa Rampage of the WSHL, a Tier III Jr. A league, were largely overmatched, and if not for the solid goaltending of Zac Enstrom, it could have been much worse. Enstrom turned aside 58 RoadRunner shots, many from close range. Topeka got on the board at 10:28 of the first when Justin Kochan knocked in the rebound of a Jacob Poe shot. Topeka had 15 shots before Tulsa registered their first, and registered 28 to Tulsa\’s 2 in the first period, though only Kochan\’s shot hit twine.
In the second period, Topeka found themselves on a 5-on-3 penalty kill, but Tony Thomas chipped the puck off the boards past the Tulsa defenseman and raced in alone on Enstrom, beating him with a nice deke to the backhand for a 2-0 lead at 5:09. As the ‘Runners kept the pressure on, they were in the midst of a delayed penalty call when Alec Hagaman knocked home the rebound of a Michael Vandas shot at 15:23 for a 3-0 lead. Vandas added a powerplay tally at 18:08 to go up 4-0, knocking in a loose puck on the doorstep. Second period shots were 24-5, Topeka.
4:00 into the third period, Topeka scored again when Tony Thomas deflected a Nickolas Gatt shot over Enstrom\’s shoulder for a 5-0 lead, and Michael Vandas netted his second of the game, a crisp wrister to the blocker side at 13:41. Shots on goal for the game ended at 64-10.
\”Tonight was a good measuring tool\”, said head coach Scott Langer. \”We got a chance to see certain players in certain situations and that\’s really what you need to grow as a team. It allows us to identify strengths and weaknesses and address how to improve before we get to Blaine.\”
The Runners face Tulsa again Friday night, and Oklahoma University on Saturday as a final tune-up before the regular season begins in Blaine on Wednesday Sept.16.