‘Runners hold on for victory

Jacob Poe holds on the puck in along the blue line Saturday night. Poe scored a rare goal and helped propel Topeka to a 5-4 victory

Richard Kelly

A night after watching the Amarillo Bulls come from behind with three third period goals to win, the Topeka RoadRunners wanted to answer.

Five goals in the second period seemed like a reasonable answer. Three goals by Amarillo (15-5-1) in the third period made it close for comfort.

But in the end, the RoadRunners were able to hold on the Bulls late charge as they defeated Amarillo 5-4 Saturday night at Landon Arena.

Topeka coach Scott Langer said for the first two periods, in which his team held a 27-12 shot advantage, his team responded how he wanted them to after losing 3-2 the night before.

¬†“We attacked with great energy (in the second period,)” said Langer. “I thought everyone was contributing on all four lines. Our defense picked it up.”

After a difficult night on the powerplay the previous night, Topeka (14-6-2) scored three straight powerplay goals by Brian Christie, Nate Milam, and Jacob Poe at the 5:54, 7:19, and 7:42 marks to propel them. They followed with two more even strength goals from Justin Hussar and Ryan White later in the period to give them a 5-0 lead.

But after a late second period goal from the Bulls made it a 5-1 game going into second intermission. The third period, which accounted for 77 penalty minutes overall and multiple game misconducts, saw an even strength goal from Amarillo’s Chris Cass at the 12:52 mark to make it a three goal game. With 5 on 3 powerplays on both occasions, the Bulls tacked on goals at the 17:26 and 19:00 mark and pulled their goalie in the final minute in attempt to tie the game but were unsuccessful as Topeka held on for the victory.

Rasmus Tirronen got the victory for Topeka, stopping 18 of 22 shots. Amarillo pulled its starter Nikifor Szczerba after he gave up three goals on 20 shots. Steve Bolton then stopped 10 of 12 shots, getting the loss for the Bulls.

Ryan White, who had the game-winning goal and two assists on the night, was overall satisfied his team was able to pull off the victory, regardless of circumstances, going into a road series  next weekend with the St. Louis Bandits. St. Louis is currently leading the North American Hockey League North Division with a 18-7-3 record.

“That was the biggest thing for us (to win against Amarillo) so now we can at least go into St. Louis with our heads up,” said White. “Hopefully, we’ll put a whole 60 minutes together.”

Langer also acknowledged there were struggles over the weekend for both of the game’s third periods, but that they can’t let that affect their mentality.

“You can’t dwell on that third period, because I really do believe we played four solid periods of hockey this weekend,” said Langer. “Things sometimes don’t go right, but we’re not going to dwell on it, we’re just going to move ahead.”