The Texas Tornado blew into Landon Arena with gale force on Saturday night, jumping out to a 2-0 first period lead before running out of wind, falling to the Topeka RoadRunners 5-3 in the final game for both teams heading into the Christmas break.
The Texas power play gave them a 1-0 lead at 7:13 of the first, with Alex Jacobs burying a shot from the blue line off the lower left pipe. :43 seconds later, a James Poston shot bounced off Topeka goalie Eric Rohrkemper, then off backchecking defenseman Nickolas Gatt and into the net for a sudden 2-0 Texas lead. The Tornado outshot Topeka 13-12 in the first period, and clearly had the momentum as Topeka appeared disjointed and out of synch.
In the second, the RoadRunners sprang to life, scoring two goals within the first three minutes to tie the game. The first goal was scored by Michael Hill, a backhander from his knees that beat Dan Sullivan up high at 2:04, then Alec Hagaman scored at 2:52 to knot the game at two apiece. The game was still tied at 2-2 at the conclusion of the second period.
Topeka took the lead for good at 3:24 of the third as Michael Hill buried his second of the night, a snappy wrister on the power play for his eleventh of the year. Alec Hagaman scored again at 14:31 for the insurance goal that ended up being the game winner when Jack Prince muscled one home for Texas less than a minute later. Texas pulled the goalie for the extra skater but Kevin Ryan drilled a slapper into the empty net to secure the 5-3 win, Topeka\’s sixth consecutive win, tying their longest such streak this season.
Topeka (23-5-3) heads into the Christmas break in first place in the NAHL South, six points ahead of St. Louis who escaped with an overtime win over Motor City on Saturday in Chesterfield, MO. The St. Louis Bandits have 4 games in hand still, and trail by 6 points.
The RoadRunners return to game action December 31st when they kick off a three game series against the Wichita Falls Wildcats, who were swept this weekend at Springfield.