‘Runners on scoring tear

El Capitan Topeka RoadRunners captain Kurtis Anton, pictured above, scored the first goal of his North American Hockey League career last Saturday as the ‘Runners took down the Albert Lea Thunder 10-0. The ‘Runners return home Nov. 13 to face the Wichita Falls Wildcats.

Richard Kelly

The early struggle to score goals looks to be well in the past.

After battling to get pucks in the net earier this season, the Topeka RoadRunners used a strong effort on all sides this past weekend to accumulate 20 goals in three games against the Albert Lea Thunder, including a 10-0 romp this past Saturday night at the Kansas Expocentre’s Landon Arena.

The three wins over the weekend included a defensive effort that held the Thunder to under 15 shots in each game. Combined with their goal outburst and holding Albert Lea to such few shots, the Thunder managed only two goals all weekend.

On Saturday night, the RoadRunners had two goals from four different players and the captain of the team, Kurtis Anton, scored his first ever North American Hockey League goal. And with such success, Ryan White, who had a goal and three assists, could see that the team was clicking in all areas over the weekend.

“The team is having a great time and everybody on the team had fun tonight,” said White. “The weekend itself was great and it makes everyone feel energetic and great.”

Yet, this coming weekend, the RoadRunners will travel to Chesterfield, Mo., to play the St. Louis Bandits (11-1-1), who are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Texas Tornado, in a three game series. They are currently one point behind Topeka in the South Division of the NAHL with two games in hand. It’s a quick turnaround after a weekend against a much different Albert Lea team. But Topeka has confidence going into its matchup.

“I think we’re confident. We still really have to have a tough week of practice,” said Scott Langer, RoadRunners head coach. “Having such success sometimes, it’s not the best thing going into playing a team like that. But we’re definitely hungry and want to play them. We’re ready for them.”

And with experience at the Hardee’s Iceplex, the Bandits home rink, Langer knows this weekend’s games will take that extra effort. The rink itself is international size, meaning there will be extra ice to cover as a team. The games will be a challenge for Topeka (11-2-2).

“We just have to go in there and take it to them. We’re the underdog playing that team,” said Langer. “They’ve got the national championship. So we have to be hungry.”

After the strong weekend, Edgars Lipsberg of the ‘Runners is now tied for 10th place in the NAHL in points, with eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. Erik Higby and Ryan White are both tied for 17th place in the NAHL with 15 points apiece.

Topeka returns home after St. Louis and a week off to play the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Nov. 13 and 14. Game time is 7:05 p.m.