Break out the brooms: RoadRunners sweep Ice Rays

The brooms are out Justin Hussar takes a shot on goal during the third period of Saturday night’s game against the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. The RoadRunners won 6-0 and finished their seven-game homestand 6-0-1. Photo by Mike Goehring, Washburn Review.

Richard Kelly

After fighting rough patches in their games the two previous nights, the Topeka RoadRunners went all-in on their game Saturday night.

The outcome was optimistic, as Topeka (31-8-3) whooped up on the Corpus Christi Ice Rays winning 6-0 to complete a three-game sweep in a very physical game. The RoadRunners finish their season series 6-0-0 versus the Ice Rays.

“We saved our best effort for the third game which is a good thing in a three-game series,” said Topeka head coach Scott Langer. “There were a lot of great efforts out there. We stuck up for one another and we got through all the sideshow stuff that was going on and we sustained some pretty big hits that were uncalled for late. We just kept going.”

A solid first period led the way as Nate Milam got Topeka on the board with a wrist shot glove side on Pheonix Copley at the 12:03 mark. Only 39 seconds later, Brian Christie got a pass across the crease from Milam and stuffed it behind Copley for a 2-0 lead. Topeka held an 11-7 lead in shots after the first frame.

Milam said after a seven-game homestand, Topeka benefitted from having a strong conclusion.

“We were having a blast at home and that’s the greatest feeling,” he said.

Late in the second period, the RoadRunners made it 3-0 when Daniel Dupell made his way into the zone and got the puck to Justin Hussar who fed it across to Michael Hill as he buried it behind Copley. The second period also included misconducts for Topeka forwards Andrew White and Alex Vazquez, as the game began to get heated.

But unlike the past two nights, where the RoadRunners gave up a combined five goals while on the penalty kill, Topeka limited Corpus Christi (17-26-2) to few chances to score Saturday night.

“We did a great job on our penalty kill, which was had really been hurting us,” said Langer. “And I think that sparked us tonight.”

In the third period, the game became a blowout, as Milam scored his second goal of the night at the 6:19 mark before Kyle Sharkey and Dupell added goals at 17:33 and 19:37 respectively.

But the more enticing story of the final frame was the numerous misconducts and ejections, with 10 assessed. Six of them went against the Ice Rays and four were against the RoadRunners. 202 penalty minutes were handed out between the two teams for the entire game.

Rasmus Tirronen picked up the win, stopping all 23 shots on goal, as Copley stopped 32 of 38 shots. The RoadRunners now enter a seven-game road trip, beginning this Thursday against the New Mexico Mustangs.

The RoadRunners currently hold a 10-point lead in the North American Hockey League South Division standings and return home to face the Wichita Falls Wildcats on March 4.