Playing against the league’s top defense, the Topeka RoadRunners ran into issues last weekend.
Finishing up a six-game road trip, Topeka (32-15-3) struggled to find offense on Friday and Saturday against the Wenatchee Wild, falling to the Wild 4-1 on Friday and 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday.
Brian Christie scored both of Topeka’s goals over the weekend, bringing his goal total to 19. Christie also scored one of Topeka’s two goals in the shootout on Saturday night. Topeka lost in the seventh round. Head coach Scott Langer said the shootout game-winner was questionable.
“I haven’t reviewed the goal yet, but I’m not sure the game-winner they counted actually went in, but it is what it is,” said Langer.
To add injury to insult, Topeka lost its backup goaltender Collin LeMay in last week’s practice, then lost starting goaltender Peter Traber during Saturday’s game. According to Langer, Traber suffered a “lower body injury.” As of Monday afternoon, LeMay and Traber were in evaluation by the team doctor to determine the status of their injuries.
Topeka now returns home this Friday and Saturday to face the Texas Tornado, who currently trail Topeka by four points for second place in the North American Hockey League South Division. Langer said after their recent travels through Fairbanks, Alaska and Fairbanks, Wash., the team is currently fighting fatigue.
“We’re seeing what normally happens as a team gets a little beat up as they travel,” said Langer. “We’re dealing with some injuries now and don’t even know how many guys we have just yet to play.”
Lead by forward Jack Prince, who has 35 goals this season, Texas will test Topeka’s willpower.
“We’re definitely in a situation right now where we can be a lot better,” said Langer. “Teams at this time either go the right way, suck it up, and get the points or they think it’s too tough and just coast the rest of the way. We’re not prepared to do that as a staff.”
With 10 games left in the regular season, Langer knows the team still needs to work to maintain home-ice advantage.
“These are must win games for us,” said Langer. “We’ll have them as prepared as we can.”
As a way to attract fans, the team will have two promotions this weekend. Friday night will Washburn Greek Night, according to Sheena LeMay-Nelssen, public relations intern for the RoadRunners.
“We’re trying to get all the sororities and fraternities involved and have activities for them during intermission,” said LeMay-Nelssen.
Tickets will be $11 for Washburn greek students. Saturday will be Fan Appreciation Night. For more information, call 785-286-7825.