RoadRunners split with Ice Rays, lose Friday’s game in a shoot out

Richard Kelly, Washburn Review

Following a frustrating game Friday night, the Topeka RoadRunners picked up the intensity Saturday.

It worked.

Having the lead for most of the contest, Topeka (26-11-6) put away the Corpus Christi Ice Rays early, winning 3-1 at Landon Arena. The win came a day after a disheartening 3-2 shootout loss to the same Ice Rays.

The RoadRunners got on the board early and while on the powerplay, as defenseman Trace Strahle blasted a shot past Corpus Christi goaltender Ben Myers at 9:03 to give Topeka a 1-0. Corpus Christi (18-20-6) never recovered from there. 

At 19:11 of the first period, forward Tyler Groat poked a wrap-around past Myers to give Topeka a 2-0 lead. Topeka led 10-7 in shots after the first period.

Late in the first period, however, forward Michal Pastor received an interference call for the RoadRunners. This hurt Topeka early in the second period, as Corpus Christi forward Emil Romig scored a quick powerplay goal just 47 seconds into the second period to pull the Ice Rays within one goal. It was the only goal allowed by Spencer Viele in the contest, as he improved to 18-6-4 on the season.

Despite a physical ending to the second period, including a 10 minute misconduct to Topeka forward Jake Kamrass and Corpus Christi defenseman Ryan Chiasson, Topeka held Corpus Christi in check. Shots were 17-3 in favor of the RoadRunners during the period.

In the third period, Corpus Christi stepped up the intensity level, firing nine shots at Viele. The veteran goaltender was able to turn them all aside. Forward Mike Gornall, in his fourth game with the RoadRunners, finished off the Ice Rays at 9:26 of the third period, making it 3-1 after burying the puck past Myers.

“We struggled to score all year,” said Scott Langer, Topeka head coach. “So it was nice to get that insurance goal and not have to sweat out a [one goal] game like we have all year.”

Topeka now heads on a six-game road trip, beginning this Thursday in Frisco, Texas versus the Texas Tornado. Puck drop Thursday night is at 7:30 p.m. Topeka has not faced Texas since Nov. 25.