RoadRunners begin their playoff trek against Wildcats

Richard Kelly

A regular season for the Topeka RoadRunners highlighted by the best record in the league and a 7-0 over the Wichita Falls Wildcats can safely be put in the vault and locked away. Playoff hockey is a brand new story.

Topeka enters their first-round series with home matches tonight and Sunday against Wichita Falls. During their final games of the regular season, the RoadRunners sputtered, losing three of their last four games. Topeka head coach Scott Langer knows the team will have to maintain the same effort they had during the final game of their season when they defeated the Amarillo Bulls 4-2.

“We’re working on details when preparing for Wichita Falls,” said Langer. “Obviously, we’re back to basics on a lot of things that can kind of be forgotten during a long regular season. This week has been a good full week.”

While the RoadRunners have already locked a bid in the Robertson Cup, which they host next month, they are not taking Wichita Falls lightly,

“They’re a confident group, based on what they’re saying out of their camp,” said Langer. “It’s about execution. Being 7-0 means absolutely nothing. Anything can happen in playoffs.”

Langer also went on to mention his team is not looking past Wichita Falls and towards the Robertson Cup, which is May 2-8.

Late in the regular season, the Wildcats gave the RoadRunners trouble, leading in each of the last two games the teams played despite both ending in Topeka victories. Based on chatter on national articles, message boards, and word of mouth, predictions have been made that Wichita Falls may knock off Topeka in the series.

But Langer dismisses those comments quickly on mentioning them. Topeka has made the playoffs each season since their arrival and had a birth in the Robertson Cup in 2008

“Obviously, there’s been some comments made about us not having a lot of success in the playoffs, which isn’t really that true,” said Langer.

The RoadRunners will be battling a significant injury to their leading scorer Michael Hill, who is out of the postseason with a concussion. Between the injury and the youth of the team, three-year veteran Jacob Poe knows he’ll have to remind the younger players on how to stay calm in crucial situations.

“Playoff hockey is totally different,” said Poe.  “Once they get in their first game and see what it feels like, they’ll begin to know what it’s going to be like.”

Tonight’s game is a “whiteout” and fans are encouraged to wear as much white as possible to the game.