Topeka unleashes offensive firepower, wins 6-2

Richard Kelly / Washburn Review

The Topeka RoadRunners took the lead early in both Friday and Saturday night’s contests versus the Amarillo Bulls.

Unlike Friday, Topeka (13-7-2) never looked back, maintaining a lead the entire game, as it defeated Amarillo (15-2-2) 6-2 Saturday night at Landon Arena.

Topeka head coach Scott Langer was happy with how Topeka responded after losing 5-3 Friday night.

“We did a lot of good things,” said Langer. “We weren’t taking the physicality tonight. We were handing it out, and that was the big difference.”

At 4:39 of the first period, while on the powerplay, defenseman Chris Bond capitalized on a loose puck and fired a slap shot past Amarillo goalie Mike Taffe. It was Bond’s first goal of the season.

Roughly five minutes later, while his team was shorthanded, forward Dan Dupell found himself alone on a breakaway and slipped a shot past Taffe.

Dupell’s goal gave the RoadRunners a 2-0 advantage until forward Karl Beckman made it 2-1 when he found a loose puck in front of Topeka goaltender Peter Traber and fired it into the back of the net.

After goaltending difficulties the night prior, Langer was satisfied with Traber’s 18 saves on 20 shots on goal.

“To me, that’s being a team guy when you’re going out there and stepping up knowing that we need this win,” said Langer. “You could just tell in his [Traber] eyes before the game he wanted to win tonight.”

In the second period, Topeka continued their peppering of shots on Taffe. At 3:38, forward Ben Bahe scored the first of his eventual three goals on the night, giving him his first North American Hockey League hat trick. Later in the period, at 10:38, forward Ryan White made it 4-1 in favor of the RoadRunners.

At 4:16 of the final period, Amarillo forward Brooks Behling scored his third goal of the series to cut the lead to 4-2. But Bahe scored goals at 7:00 and 16:46 to finish off the Bulls and complete his hat trick.

“It felt great to get the hat trick,” said Bahe. “Coach [Langer] kind of got after me after the first period because I wasn’t playing my best. I decided to step up.”

Bahe now has eight goals on the season, which is tied for third on the team. He knows balanced scoring is a must in a tough south division.

“When you’re playing a good team like Amarillo, you need everyone to contribute,” said Bahe. “You just have to come together as a team and get a win.”

Topeka currently sits at third in the south division with 28 points. The Texas Tornado, who have played two less games than Topeka, currently have 30 points and Amarillo has played three less than Topeka but already has a staggering 32 points on the season.

The RoadRunners continue their home stand this weekend when they host the Springfield Jr. Blues on Friday and Saturday. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m. both nights.

Friday night is MS Night at the RoadRunners. The night will be devoted to raising awareness about Multiple Sclerosis in northeast Kansas. Tickets are $11 and can be purchased with their iCard.