Even the folks in Hollywood wouldn\’t have stretched the story this far. On an evening where the RoadRunners honored former captain and current Alumni Association President John Stoddard by raising his jersey to the rafters and retiring his number, the icing on the cake was a 10-0 shellacking of the Albert Lea Thunder on Saturday.
As Stoddard watched with his parents and longtime girlfriend Katrine, the RoadRunners got off to a quick start, unlike the two games prior in the series. Edgars Lipsbergs started the scoring barrage at 9:04 with a blistering top corner shot, then :19 seconds later Erik Higby smacked home a Cole Schneider rebound for a 2-0 lead. At 13:25 Ryan White rocketed a smoking wrister up over the shoulder of the Thunder goalie on the power play, and then Schneider got one of his own at 19:23 and Topeka led 4-0 after 1, outshooting Albert Lea 16-5.
The second period saw more offensive zone pressure and scoring chances for the ‘Runners, but just one goal as Michael Hill lit the lamp at 5:22. Up 5-0 after 2, the ‘Runners weren\’t through. 5 more goals would follow in the third, tying the leagues high-water mark for goals in any single period this season. At 2:11 Cole Schneider scored his second of the night, assisted by Ryan White who picked up his third assist. The wheels really came off the cart when Topeka exploded for four goals in a span of 4:10 midway through the period. Erik Higby on the powerplay made it 7-0, then a Michael Hill backhander made it 8-0. Captain Kurtis Anton scored his first Junior A goal at 13:37 for a 9-0 lead, equaling the largest margin of victory in a home game in team history (9-0 win vs Wichita Falls March 15, 2008). And for good measure, Edgars Lipsbergs made it 10-0 on a highlight reel goal that saw him come off the right wing wall and fight his way through 3 Thunder defensemen to launch the shot. The 10 goal margin ties the largest margin of victory in franchise history (11-1 win at Alaska Avalanche on Feb. 20, 2008), and ties the most goals scored in a game at home (10-2 win vs Kenai River Brown Bears Jan. 26, 2008). The most goals scored overall in a single game for the RoadRunners came on March 29, 2007 in Alaska, a 12-5 win over the Avalanche in Wasilla.
Cooper Frederick notched his first shutout, and has impressive numbers thus far. Appearing in 4 games, he\’s 3-0-1, with a 1.27 GAA and .938 save percentage. The defensive corps in front of him have been outstanding, sporting a plus/minus of +41 as a group, led by Kevin Ryan with +11 (tied for third highest in the NAHL) and Chris Bond with a +9.
Topeka (11-2-2) moves one point ahead of St. Louis (11-1-1) who lost in a shootout at Texas on Saturday. The RoadRunners and Bandits meet for a pivotal three game series in Chesterfield, MO on Halloween weekend. Topeka is 9-0-1 in their last ten, winning the last 4 in a row outright.