The Topeka RoadRunners have a lot of new faces in the lineup this fall. Fortunately, fans need not worry. The team has already shown they’re prepared to compete.
Their first opportunity to put that competitive mentality to the test in a regular season match will be tonight as they play the Fresno Monsters in the 2011 North American Hockey League Showcase at 8:15.
Last Thursday, in a preseason game versus the Amarillo Bulls, the RoadRunners showed resiliency. Tied late in the contest, returning forward Brian Christie scored a short-handed game-winning goal with 10.6 seconds remaining as Topeka won 3-2. Topeka dropped its Wednesday contest 5-4
In each game, there was a pre-planned shootout following regulation. Topeka won Thursday’s shootout 3-0 and lost Wednesday’s shootout 2-1.
“To be on the road in that environment, the guys learned to play through it,” said Scott Langer, Topeka head coach.
While Langer acknowledged improving points in the Amarillo contest, he was mostly satisfied with his team’s effort. Topeka also had two home exhibition games against the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos Sept. 3-4, winning 4-0 and 11-0.
“We’ve seen a good progression since we played Central Oklahoma,” said Langer. “We played a real good first game against Amarillo, we just couldn’t score. I think we learned how to respond in night two and we had a great effort.”
Following Fresno, Topeka will play the Port Huron Falcons, Chicago Hitmen and Jamestown Ironmen on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.
“We’re just going to play our game,” said Langer. “I think it’s about us executing our game plan no matter what and making the in-game adjustments—I think our guys are smart enough to do that.”
Rookie forward Robbie Davis agrees that his team is ready for the season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of training and I think we’re definitely prepared and ready to go,” said Davis. “We’re ready to hit the ice running.”