RoadRunners return home to face Mustangs

Richard Kelly

The Topeka RoadRunners are looking to continue their winning ways.

Topeka, who has won nine of their last 11 games, returns home this weekend after a four game roadtrip to face the New Mexico Mustangs at 7:05 p.m. The RoadRunners defeated New Mexico (8-18-3) in their last matchups Nov. 12-13.

RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said the team has momentum coming into the weekend series.

“Right now things are good and we’re rolling,” said Langer. “We have a little confidence and we just want to get to this break and try to get a couple of wins at home.”

This past weekend, Topeka (17-7-2) swept the Texas Tornado, the top team in the North American Hockey League South Division. Saturday’s contest showed the resiliency of the young ‘Runner team, as they scored four straight third period goals after falling 3-1, eventually winning 6-4. Langer was very happy with his team’s focus and determination in the victory

“It was great to see our guys stay patient,” said Langer. “They didn’t panic whatsoever. That was kind of like our team of the past — you’d down a few goals and it still felt like you were going to win the hockey game. I think that’s a sign of our team maturing.”

Scoring has begun to pick up for Topeka, scoring 16 goals over the last four games. Topeka has also began to gel defensively. For a team that seemed to lack depth early in the season, Langer has been satisfied with the team’s progression.

“(Brian) Christie, (Andrew) O’Leary and (Nate) Milam have done a great job with the secondary scoring, and Jordan Davis, (Kyle) Sharkey and (Daniel) Dupell have played a great part in our success with their checking ability,” said Langer. “Mike Hill’s performance speaks for itself. Everybody’s going after him and he just seems to fill the net.”

Hill is currently tied for third in the NAHL in total points with 43 and is tied for second in the league with 23 goals.

Though they have gone 0-9-3 on the road this season and sit in last in the NAHL South Division, Topeka will continue to need solid output this weekend against New Mexico, according to Langer.

“They go with some good speed and play with a real open style,” said Langer. “So if you’re not paying attention, they’re going to hurt you. They’ll beat you in transition. They’re going to be a tough team.

“They might not have a great record right now, but they’ll play real hard. Those team’s will catch up on you real quick if you’re not focused.”

This weekend also brings a teddy bear toss, which will take place Saturday night. Friday will allow for teddy bears with bandannas signed by the team to be purchased, but all teddy bears are welcome. They will be thrown onto the ice after the first goal Saturday night and donated to the Topeka Rescue Mission.

Tiffany Logue, Account Executive for the RoadRunners, said this is just one way the team is trying to give back to the community.

“The Topeka RoadRunners have been working really hard this year to even further our efforts in the community and we just are really looking for the support so that we can show everyone how thankful we are to be in this community,” said Logue.