Tirronen shuts out Jr. Blues, ‘Runners win 5-0

Richard Kelly

The Topeka RoadRunners had a rocky first period Saturday night. But, the second and third periods made the first period look meaningless.

With no scoring in the first period despite tremendous pressure from the Springfield Jr. Blues, Topeka (28-8-2) rattled off three goals in the second period and two in the third period as they shut out the Jr. Blues 5-0.

Supporting their Kansas Day jerseys for the state’s 150th birthday, Topeka looked inspired after a rough start to the game with 41 shots in the final two frames.

Topeka coach Scott Langer was pleased his team responded so well.

“We gave up a lot of chances in the first period,” said Langer. “Springfield played very animated against us and it certainly could have gone a different way. But we hung in there, and I think we continued to get better during the game. We eliminated chances, we did a good job of going to the net and we focused a little more on the defensive part than we did early on.”

Justin Hussar found the back of the net at 2:05 to give the ‘Runners a 1-0 lead. At the 7:21 mark, Brian Christie took a pass from Andrew O’Leary and put the puck past Andrew Martin’s blocker for a 2-0 lead. It would increase to 3-0 at the 18:49 mark when Davey Middleton continued his recent success on a shorthanded goal, also to Martin’s blocker side.

With Topeka outshooting Springfield (17-19-3) 23-6 in the second period, Topeka goalie Rasmus Tirronen could see the change his team made between periods.

“First period, I faced a couple of harder shots, but we came out as a different team in the second and third,” said Tirronen.

The RoadRunners maintained their intensity in the third period, with a powerplay goal from Nate Milam at 8:26. A goal with 2.5 seconds by Michael Hill gave the ‘Runners a 5-0 lead.

Rasmus Tirronen stopped 31 shots in the victory. Andrew Martin stopped 47 of 52 shots in the loss.

The two teams tangle again Sunday at 5:05 p.m.