RoadRunners can’t handle Tornado, fall 2-1

Forward Sean Gaffney fires a shot on goal during Friday's game versus the Texas Tornado. Despite a goal from Gaffney late, Texas scored with just 11 seconds left in the contest to win 2-1.

Washburn Review

It felt for much of the night that the Topeka RoadRunners couldn’t seem to find the gas pedal.

When they finally found it, the Texas Tornado made sure to accelerate back past them.

After all was said and done, Texas (17-7-1) scored a goal with 11 seconds left on a scramble in front of goaltender Spencer Viele, winning 2-1 at Landon Arena.

“The late goal was certainly indicative of how we played,” said Scott Langer, RoadRunners head coach. “We lacked energy. We were certainly outworked by that club for a good portion of the game tonight.”

Topeka (15-5-3) struggled much of the game to find scoring opportunities. They were outshot 36-22 for the contest, including being outshot 17-5 in an impressive second period display by the Tornado.

Viele was able to keep the Tornado off the board though until 14:51 of the second period. Forward CJ Reuschlein snuck a shot past the goaltender to give the Tornado a 1-0 lead.

“Spencer’s effort was great tonight, again,” said Langer. “He gave us a chance to win that game and our guys just didn’t play hard enough in front of him.”

In the third period, Topeka showed life, firing a few shots just wide of goaltender Hunter Leisner. At 16:16, forward Sean Gaffney scored his 15th goal of the season to tie the game.

This all set up the late goal to doom Topeka’s chances. A disservice to their chances also took place in the second period when forward Codey Hansen was ejected for fighting after play stoppage.

“It hurts when you have to double up on the wing,” said Langer. “It wears down your personnel. It’s certainly better to have a player like Hansen in the lineup than not.”

The two teams will battle again Saturday night. The game is expected to be delayed shortly from its normal 7:05 p.m. start due to the honoring of billet families before the opening puck drop.