RoadRunners split against Wildcats

Hot offense, cold ice The RoadRunners enter this weekend’s Washburn Night matchup against Springfield as the NAHL’s third highest scoring offense. They are first in their division.

Richard Kelly

It was evident the Topeka RoadRunners learned their lesson after losing a heartbreaker Friday night 7-6 in overtime.

Coming off a game in which Topeka outshot Wichita Falls 33-29 but allowed four straight goals after holding a commanding 4-0 lead, the RoadRunners came out and dominated much of the game Saturday against the Wildcats to win 4-3 in front of 1,537 fans in Landon Arena.

Less than a minute into the game, Wichita Falls did strike first, with an unassisted goal from Tyler Lundey, but from that point on, the RoadRunners held the Wildcats in check until late in the game.

The RoadRunners would get on the board when Kit Sitterly took a shot from the blue line that went through a slur of bodies and slipped past goalie Phillip Graveline. Six minutes later, the RoadRunners took the lead on a 3 on 1 break that Cory Ramsey would use to fire the puck against past Graveline. Their lead would increase to 3-1 when Bryce Johnson scored just 30 seconds after Ramsey. Nicolas Gatt came up with the assist on that goal.

Erik Higby would increase that lead once more with an unassisted goal early in the second period. Wichita Falls attempted to battle back late with two goals in less than a minute late in the third period, but RoadRunners goalie Erik Rohrkemper held them off to preserve the win.

Saturday’s game included 186 penalty minutes overall including several game misconducts and five fights. Both teams were shorthanded and on the powerplay a number of instances. But Topeka head coach Scott Langer said he was pleased overall with his team’s performance after a rough outing Friday.

“You know, for the most part, we controlled that hockey game,” said Langer. “Some of the things were out of our control. Especially down the stretch,  I feel we weren’t rewarded for our hard work. There were some ticky-tack situations. But you know we found a way to win. And the bottom line is those two points.”

Langer went on to say he was satisfied with his team’s response to the incidents that took place and how they were able to keep their composure. And Bryce Johnson, who had four points on the weekend, also agreed the team kept their energy well and didn’t let the game get to them.

“When things aren’t going right, you just gotta stay positive,” said Johnson. “Not every game, the officiating is going to be where you want it at, so you have to keep coming hard and hope for the best there at the end”

With the win and overtime loss on the weekend, Topeka moves to 14-3-3 on the season and has the third most points in the North American Hockey League with 31. They hold a four point lead over St. Louis in the NAHL South Division.

The RoadRunners have played two more games than St. Louis and continue their homestand this weekend against the Springfield Jr. Blues. Game time both Friday and Saturday is 7:05 p.m.

Friday is Washburn Night and a limited number of tickets are being given away. Tickets can be picked up in the WSGA office and T-shirts will be given out at the game, also in a limited amount. On Thursday, RoadRunners players will also be handing out free tickets.

Washburn students now can also receive 10 percent off their tickets at games by showing their Washburn ID courtesy of a new iSave discount that was recently implemented.