Overtime goal propels Ice Dogs past RoadRunners

Richard Kelly

Only surrendering six shots on goal halfway through the second period, it would be presumed the Topeka RoadRunners had things pretty good.

But they trailed 2-0 and their starting goaltender was on his way on the bench.

Topeka was eventually able to come from behind and tie Fairbanks 3-3 in the third period but would eventually surrender a late goal in the first overtime period, falling 4-3 Tuesday night in each team’s opening game of the Robertson Cup.

“That was a dominating performance,” said Langer. “They [Amarillo] just had a few seeing eye pucks that found the back of the net.”

Zach Vierling scored the game-winning goal after a Fairbanks shot rang off the goalpost onto his stick. He was able to control the puck and knock a shot behind goaltender Eric Rohrkemper, sending Ice Dog players over the ice and RoadRunner players stunned.

After outshooting Fairbanks 50-24 for the contest and playing with what seemed the upper hand most of the contest, Scott Langer, Topeka head coach, said this one really stings.

“That’s a tough one to swallow, to lose that game,” said Langer. “I think the ice was slanted one way. It was a pretty dominating performance.”

Halfway through the first period, Amarillo took the lead on a Alec Hajdukovich goal. Topeka was able to outshot Fairbanks 12-5 in the period but could not find the back of the net.

The first half of the second period did not fare well for the RoadRunners. Tayler Munson grabbed a rebound and fired a shot past starting goaltender Rasmus Tirronen at 6:10. Tirronen was pulled following the goal, facing six shots and only making four saves.

¬†At 8:40, Jared Linnell grabbed a turnover and ripped a shot glove side on Rohrkemper to extend the Ice Dog’s lead to 3-0.

Topeka found life at 10:40 when Davey Middleton poked a shot behind goaltender Joe Phillippi. With exactly a minute left in the period, Kyle Sharkey fired a rebound behind Phillipi to make it a one-goal game going into second intermission. The RoadRunners outshot the Ice Dogs 17-6 for the period.

Middleton grabbed his second goal of the night at the 8:43 mark as fell to the ice and nudged a rebound into the back of the net. Each team had opportunities to take the lead late in the contest but neither could find the go-ahead goal as they headed to overtime.

Fairbanks was outshot 16-5 in the third period before outshooting the RoadRunners 8-5 in the overtime session.

While Topeka couldn’t ultimately grab the victory, Langer was happy with his team’s overall effort.

“The positive you take from this is the character of the team,” said Langer. “They came back from a three-goal deficit and probably should’ve won the game.”