RoadRunners stomp over Bronchos

Richard Kelly

The Topeka RoadRunners’ coaching staff was looking for strong performances from its newcomers and its veterans over its first weekend of exhibition games.

Scoring 11 goals on Sunday can likely be considered a strong performance.

A night removed from a 4-0 victory over the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos, Topeka picked up where they left off, defeating the Central Oklahoma 11-0 at Landon Arena.

But unlike Saturday’s contest where Topeka only suited up three returners, Topeka had 10 returners in the lineup on Sunday. Seven of them registered points in the contest. The RoadRunners outshot the Bronchos 52-8.

“We gelled really well tonight,” said returning forward Kyle Sharkey, who had two goals in the contest. “A lot of guys worked really hard and it’s still a tryout for us.”

In the first period, the Bronchos appeared to have escaped without substantial damage on the scoreboard. But during the final four minutes, Topeka scored three goals to increase their lead from 1-0 to 4-0 going into the first intermission. Ryan White, Sharkey, Ryan Doucet and Brian Christie all had first period goals.

From there, the scoring continued, as Topeka scored four more goals in the second period. Defenseman Mic Bruce found the back of the net at 3:33. Forward Dan Dupell then followed with a goal at 5:16 and the onslaught continued 22 seconds later on a goal by defenseman Kevin Patterson. Forward Andrew O’Leary also scored late in the period.

Scott Langer, Topeka head coach, was happy to see his players gel so quickly.

“A lot of these guys haven’t worked together in lines, but it shows you that they’re picking up some of the principles that we are teaching,” said Langer. “We scored some goals and did some really good things coming from our zone out. I think it was a real good step in the right direction.”

Sharkey, Jake Lynes and Linus Johannson finished off the scoring in the third period. Johannson, who also had three assists on the night, is battling with Shigenobu Kakudate and Julian Van Lijden for the two spots for non-United States players on the roster. Johannson is from Sweden, Kakudate is from Japan and Van Lijden is from The Netherlands. All three players had at least one point over the weekend.

Of the 29 players who played over the weekend, only 25 of them will make the regular season roster. Langer and his staff have not made the final decisions on who will make the roster. He hopes this Wednesday and Thursday’s exhibition games at Amarillo will help with making those decisions.

“We certainly can make a few more decisions,” said Langer. “Amarillo’s going to be a good test for us with all the veterans they have back. I think we can inch a little closer to some decisions, but there’s still guys battling for spots on this team.”