RoadRunners battle Bulls in crucial weekend series

Richard Kelly

The Topeka RoadRunners know this weekend will mark an important series as they near the halfway mark of the regular season.

After a holiday weekend without games, Topeka (19-7-2) looks to continue with their current winning ways as they play the Amarillo Bulls Friday night at Landon Arena, with a special 6:05 start time due to New Year’s Eve.

The RoadRunners are coming off a weekend sweep of the New Mexico Mustangs two weekends ago and are 8-2-0 in their last ten games. Amarillo (20-5-2) is coming off a 7-3 win over the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Wednesday night and is 8-1-1 in their last ten games.

With recent weather conditions in the northeast, the team has been late in getting some of their players back to practice and as of Wednesday, the team was still missing players. Combining that with the talent of Amarillo, Topeka coach Scott Langer knows this weekend will test his young club.

“They’ve been a good team and they’re one team that’s given us a lot of problems even though we’ve had leads in almost every one of our games against them,” said Langer. “The good thing is we know we have to beat that hockey team so it’s going to be a great test.”

Jacob Poe, a three year veteran defense for Topeka, also emphasized the importance of simplicity and focus in this weekend’s games.

“We’ve got to keep things simple this week, especially coming back from break,” said Poe. “Everyone’s had a little time off but we’ve got to focus here and get a couple good practices in.”

Topeka’s leading scorer Michael Hill is day-to-day, according to Langer. But in their most recent game versus the Mustangs, Topeka was able to score nine goals in his absence.

More important than his return, Langer hopes his team has matured enough to understand how to handle the games this weekend.

“Their coach (Dennis Williams) just won’t let them take a shift off and that’s been our issue — once we get up on them, we just kind of lay down and coast,” said Langer. “I’m hoping our maturity has grown enough that we understand we can’t do that.”