The North American Hockey League South Division is shaping up to be a competitive division. The Topeka RoadRunners are finding this out the hard way.
Despite scoring the first goal in both games over this past weekend, Topeka (7-3-2) only salvaged one point out of the weekend falling to the Amarillo Bulls 4-2 on Friday night and 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday.
Friday, Michael Hill, who leads the team with 19 points, fired a shot past Nikifor Szezerba, giving the RoadRunners a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. But Amarillo scored two goals to take the lead halfway through the second and despite a Justin Hussar powerplay goal tying the game, Amarillo followed with a Dan Sherer goal at 12:45 of the third period.
An emptynet goal with 19 seconds left in the third period finished off Topeka’s chances of sending the game to overtime. Erik Rohrkemper, who surrendered three goals on 25 shots, picked up the loss.
Justin Hussar picked up where he left off on Saturday, giving Topeka the advantage 2:19 into the first period on Saturday. Amarillo tied the game at 12:34 of the first period, but Daniel Dupell gave the lead back to the ‘Runners before the first intermission. Two straight Topeka goals allowed the RoadRunners to breathe easier with a 4-1 lead in the second period. But a goal with one second left in the second period began an Amarillo comeback.
Two goals in the third period brought Amarillo back to a tie with the ‘Runners, sending the game to overtime. With no goals in overtime, a shootout ensued. In the seventh round, tied two goals apiece, Topeka’s Jordan Davis couldn’t come up with a goal. Terrence Johnson followed with a goal for Amarillo to give the Bulls a comeback victory. Eric Rohrkemper picked up another loss, dropping his record to 3-1-2 on the year.
But the loss can’t linger too long in the team’s heads. Topeka returns home tonight to play rival St. Louis Bandits. St. Louis (9-2-2) has the lead league in points with 20 and sits atop the North Division by four points. Topeka sits fourth in the South Division with 16 points. Amarillo and the Texas Tornado lead the division with 19 points. Topeka has a game in hand on both teams.