Sharkey’s Hat Trick Powers RoadRunners to 5-2 Win
As tense rivalries go, it doesn’t get much more INtense than the rivalry between Topeka (14-3-2) and Amarillo (14-3-1). Yet with all the bad blood, Friday night’s contest was a relatively tame affair where the RoadRunners took care of the puck and capitalized on their opportunities, outplaying the Bulls for a 5-2 win. And Kyle Sharkey played, which helped.
In addition to being one of the hardest working players in the NAHL, Sharkey can also put up points (3 goals, 1 assist on the night). His powerplay goal at 8:08 in the first put the Roadrunners ahead 1-0. The second goal, on another powerplay coming with just 3 ticks left on the clock in the second, increased the lead to 4-1. On even strength in the third, Sharkey sealed his hat trick with a netter at 14:31, cementing the final at 5-2.
“Funny thing is, his D was even more impressive,” said Head Coach Scott Langer of Sharkey. “ He ground it out in the defensive zone, laying out and defending the net. Kyle worked hard at both ends of the ice and was rewarded for his effort. And the guys around him were tremendous tonight as well.”
Tied at 1-1 with the clock running down in the first period, Tyler Andrew managed a powerplay goal with a thin second left, putting the RoadRunners in the driver’s seat 2-1 going into intermission. Add in Sharkey’s second period goal and you have two straight frames ending in frustration for the Bulls and elation for the RoadRunners.
“Scoring like that to end a period is a huge confidence builder,” added Langer. “The energy in the locker room was tangible and added to the fire on face-offs, penalty kills, and powerplays. It paid some big dividends.”
Trace Strahle added to the offensive output with a powerplay goal of his own at 7:08 in the second period. The RoadRunners made up for the 0 for 9 powerplay performance in their last game at Amarillo by going 4 for 6 on Friday night. Conversely, the Bulls were only able to muster one powerplay goal on five chances.
The RoadRunners and Bulls are back at it Saturday at 7pm. Veterans looking for a ride to the game can board Topeka Transit at the Building One entrance of The Colmery-O’Neill VA Medical Center. Topeka Transit will be shuttling interested fans to and from the game in honor of the RoadRunners “Welcome Home, Veterans” night at Landon Arena. The RoadRunners will be holding a specialty jersey auction (sponsored by Super 8 at Forbes Landing) after the game with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the VA medical Center. There will also be a Late Skate with the RoadRunners after the auction. For more information on this and other games, call 785-286-PUCK or visit the Expocentre Box Office.