‘Runners blow past Tornado, 4-1

Coming up short in four straight contests going into Saturday night, the Topeka RoadRunners knew they couldn’t afford another loss.

The effort displayed on Saturday showed these sentiments, as Topeka (33-16-3) found its offense, defeating the Texas Tornado 4-1 at Landon Arena.

Topeka head coach Scott Langer knew after a 2-0 loss on Friday night that his team could respond positively or negatively on Saturday. Fortunately, Langer’s team took the positive route.

“We certainly did some soul searching (Saturday) morning. We didn’t skate,” said Langer. “I thought the guys answered the bell. They could’ve gone either way after this morning’s meeting, and they responded. The guys that needed to be held accountable, I thought they were tonight.”

Things didn’t look promising early in the first period, as Texas forward Taylor Herndon scored a powerplay goal at 7:04 to give the Tornado a 1-0 lead. But the “soul searching” paid off while minutes later on a RoadRunner powerplay, as Topeka defenseman Kevin Patterson jammed in a rebound at 9:18 to tie the contest at one.

Right out of the gate in the second period, at the 39 second mark, Topeka forward Richard Young fired a shot past Texas goaltender Frederick Leisner to give Topeka a 2-1 lead. Young said Topeka was a different team Saturday than they had been in the previous four games.

“We had the will to win the tonight,” he said. “That was our phrase, ‘Will to win.'”

Topeka controlled the tempo much of the second period, outshooting Texas 11-4. Emergency goaltender Alexander Larson turned in another solid effort, stopping 20 of 21 shots on goal.

“It’s not easy to step in from his level [Tier III] to our level,” said Langer. “He was pretty poised. He gave us an opportunity to win both games.”

In the third period, Topeka continued to take advantage of opportune situations. Patterson, who only had three goals on the season prior to Saturday, scored another powerplay goal at 2:38 to make it 3-1. Topeka’s defensive efforts also limited Texas (29-16-7), as they were only able to muster four shots on goal in the final period.

Forward Ryan White, who leads Topeka with 48 points, finished off the scoring with an emptynet goal at 19:45. It was White’s 18th goal of the season.

The RoadRunners now turn their attention to the St. Louis Bandits, who they will face for the next four contests, two away and two home. The Bandits (36-13-2) currently lead their division with 74 points. Faceoff for Friday’s contest at the St. Peter’s RecPlex in St. Peters, Mo. is 7 p.m.