Topeka looks to wrap up postseason title

Richard Kelly

The Topeka RoadRunners had a chance to finish off the South Division postseason on Friday night in Amarillo, Tex. But following a 4-2 loss, the RoadRunners will now play a game 5 in their second straight series.

Let the Monday night countdown begin.

Receiving timely third period goals, Amarillo downed Topeka on Friday night, despite Topeka holding a 2-1 lead in the contest. Following an overtime victory on Thursday night and the loss on Friday, the RoadRunners and Bulls are locked at 2-2 in the series going into Monday night’s finale at 7:05 p.m. in Landon Arena.

Topeka, who has averaged 1,758 fans in their five home games this postseason, will be looking to lure fans in on a Monday night by offering two for the price of one premium seats, which normally cost $14.75 a piece.

RoadRunners head coach Scott Langer knows fan support is crucial in this deciding game.

“It’s Topeka’s time. It really is,” said Langer. “These guys play their hearts out, and they do it with the support behind them and they do it for the support. I’m just hoping that we can fill the seats and do it together.”

Langer said after so many twists and turns in the series, his team will have to keep their poise in what is expected to be an intense game

“You got to control your emotional state,” said Langer. “We know that [the Bulls] are going to get theirs. You just can’t get too high, can’t get too low. It is how we’ve won games all years, not getting too overexcited whether you’re up or down.”

Despite their need to control their emotions, which Langer often emphasizes, the approach for game 5 will look similar to the previous games of the series.

“There’s no reason to change our approach at all,” said Langer. “We’ve gotten through quite a bit of the same stuff. We had a Game 5 against Wichita Falls and we passed through that. We had our backs against the wall to win the President’s Cup [regular-season championship] trophy. Here we are again. We’re going to stick to what we’re good at, and we’re not going to change much.”

Forward Nate Milam has led the team this postseason scoring a team-leading seven goals and registering 12 points. Forward Kyle Sharkey has also had a productive postseason, scoring five goals in nine games after only scoring 12 in 46 regular season contests.

Goaltending has been handed off to Rasmus Tirronen for the first four games of the Amarillo Series. In those contests, Tirronen has stopped 105 of the 107 shots he’s faced.

While Topeka is guaranteed a spot in the Robertson Cup, which they host May 3-7, Langer emphasized how much it means to his team to lock up the South Division postseason title. He also explained that while their attendance dipped in the postseason, from 2,164 to 1,758, he thinks Monday’s energy level will be especially important for his team.

“”We’ve thrived on our local support,” said Langer. “We like to please our community, and the community has done a great job of supporting us. In the playoffs our attendance hasn’t been the greatest, but with this one here, there’s a lot on the line. To win the South Division and move into the Robertson Cup as the top seed is extremely important. “