Bandits take two straight from RoadRunners

Topeka lost 4-2 and 2-1 to St. Louis during the weekend.

After returning from a five game road trip to Alaska with a 4-1 record, the RoadRunners probably figured a pair of weekend home games would produce a win or two.

However, the team suffered its second and third losses of the season in Friday night contests against the St. Louis Bandits. The visitors are the defending NAHL champions, and sit in first place for a second consecutive year, but it’s still hard to explain the sudden struggles for a team that was happy to be back in the friendly confines of Lee Arena.

Maybe it was the effects of a grueling trip to the land of Sarah Palin.

Or maybe the 4-2 and 2-1 defeats in orange-colored Halloween jerseys just reaffirmed the fact that home teams should not wear alternate jerseys. (See: KU’s 35 point home loss to Texas Tech.)

No matter what the reasoning behind the losses is, the hometown team knows it’s a long season, and losing to the league’s top team in October can serve as a valuable learning experience come April playoffs.

“I think we’ve had a few problems offensively,” said coach Scott Langer. “It’s not anything serious. It’s things we can work on, but we should be scoring more than we have been.”

It’s a concern Langer had expressed even when the ‘Runners were scoring three or four goals per game earlier in the season, and against elite competition, small problems can add up.

As for the effect of traveling across the country for games in Alaska, Langer admits the team gets especially fired up for what has become an intense rivalry.

“Last year we had some issues with them in the playoffs regarding where we would play,” said Langer, “And they have knowledgeable hockey fans up there, so it’s always a good game when you play Fairbanks.”