After a 13 combined goal outburst the night before, Topeka and Odessa took the ice in the middle game of the three game weekend set with their minds set on tightening some things up.
In the opening period, it was Topeka who got on the board early as JB Baker took advantage of a quirky hop from the left wing corner to put the ‘Runners on top 1-0 at the 1:49 mark. The Jackalopes were able to tie it up as Brennen Miller’s right wing wrister squeezed through the pads of Juho Niku at 7:54, and the game remained tied 1-1 through 20 minutes.
Odessa took a 2-1 lead as Hampus Sjodahl buried a Gray Marr pass on a defensive zone turnover at 5:44. Each side was unable to convert on a power play chance, and Topeka tied the game at 2-2 when Quinn Preston snapped home the rebound of a Johnny Walker shot at 18:38. Odessa struck back quickly, retaking the lead when Gray Marr swatted home a loose rebound in the low slot and the Jacks led 3-2 at the second intermission.
Topeka tied it up at 3-3 on a power play as Yu Hikosaka unloaded a shot from the left point at 7:43. The game winner came in the final minute as Pierce Pleumer hopped around the RoadRunner defense after a puck skipped past, and Pluemer buried the breakaway chance for a 4-3 lead that they held on to for the victory. It was Odessa’s first win in Topeka since November 2013. The RoadRunners outshot the Jackalopes 36-22.
Topeka (31-21-1) and Odessa (23-26-4) meet for the final time on Sunday at 6:00 pm. Topeka’s magic number to clinch third place and a playoff berth is 1, meaning a win, or an overtime or shootout loss on Sunday locks Topeka in to the postseason mathematically.