TOPEKA, Kan. – Fairbanks winger Dan Haider’s tip-in with just :06 seconds remaining in regulation gave the defending NAHL champion Ice Dogs a season-opening 3-2 victory over the RoadRunners Thursday night at the Kansas ExpoCentre.
The game-winning goal came as the Ice Dogs gained control around RoadRunner rookie goalie Ryan Snowden. Fairbanks center Hunter Wendt corralled a loose puck in the slot and backhanded a shot towards Snowden, but Haider was there to re-direct it past the 6-foot-3 goaltender and give the Ice Dogs the win.
The RoadRunners rallied to tie the game just minutes earlier when Andrew Hart, with assists from Marcus Russell and Jake Rosenbaum, beat Fairbanks goaltender CJ Boothe in a scramble at the 15:58 mark of the third. That goal came only three minutes after Wendt and Haider teamed up on a 2-on-1, with Wendt finishing it off on the doorstep.
The RoadRunners came out of the gate rolling, outshooting the Ice Dogs in each of the first two period, but it was the Ice Dogs – on the power play – who scored first as defenseman Dean Hewines beat Snowden cleanly to the glove side from the left-wing boards. Topeka answered before the end of the period, however, when Hart found Russell in the slot, who beat Boothe with a low shot to the glove side. Topeka defenseman Jack Nickels also assisted on the play.
The two teams resume NAHL play Friday night with a 7 p.m. start time, and wrap up the three-game series Saturday night at the Kansas ExpoCentre.
NOTES … Up Next: The RoadRunners continue their 3-game series against defending NAHL champion Fairbanks Friday and Saturday night (7 p.m.) …. Maver to USHL: RoadRunners forward Luka Maver was picked up by the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and participated in a pair of games last weekend at the USHL Fall Classic West, scoring twice …. Help From Above: Forwards Marcus Russell (Bloomington) and Peyton Frantti (Omaha) were picked up by the RoadRunners this week after USHL stints and appeared in their first game tonight. Russell played in 56 games for the RoadRunners last season, contributing 18 goals and 7 assists. Frantti was tendered by the RoadRunners this summer after graduating from Culver Military Academy last spring. The RoadRunners also added forward Isaac Cirinna (Mansfield, TX) to the roster this week. Cirinna played a full season in the NAHL last year, skating for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights …. First time: Rookie goalie Ryan Snowden, from Lincoln University, Penn., made his first appearance in a RoadRunner uniform tonight after missing both exhibition games due to injury. Snowden played last season for Team Comcast, and previously played in the Philadelphia Little Flyers organization …. Up Next: The RoadRunners continue their 3-game series against defending NAHL champion Fairbanks Friday and Saturday night (7 p.m.).