The Topeka RoadRunners set a new high water mark for the franchise by winning their eighth straight gameon Friday night, beating Wichita Falls 7-2. The ‘Runners had posted 7 straight wins on five separate occasions in team history, four of the five coming last season.
The game started out with both clubs having some quality opportunities.but after a few minutes, Topeka started to take control, gaining a 1-0 lead when Alec Hagaman drove home the rebound of a Patrick Kirtland shot at 10:32. At 16:30, Michael Hill battled through two Wildcat defenders to get a shot on goal that rebounded to Bryce Johnson who swatted it in for a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats sawed the lead in half when Steven Hoshaw snapped a shot under the crossbar from the low slot at 18:24, and Topeka held a 2-1 edge after one period, outshooting the Wildcats 15-6.
After a lackluster second period the night before that saw Topeka allow Wichita Falls to mount a comeback, the locker room focus was on coming out strong. At 2:01 of the second, Nate Milam poked home a rebound, assisted by Erik Higby and at 6:51 Alec Hagaman popped in his second of the night after a Ryan White shot from a low angle popped out in front. For the second night in a row, Wichita Falls goaltender Kelly Andrew was pulled and relieved by Erick Cinotti. The ‘Cats took a timeout after Hagaman\’s goal and implemented the goalie change. Just :12 seconds later, Jeff Burke was whistled for a tripping call, giving Wichita Falls their fourth power play of the game, but defenseman Nickolas Gatt scored his first goal of the season on a shorthanded rush, fed nicely by Bryce Johnson giving Topeka a commanding 5-1 lead. Wichita Falls would score again at 15:37, and Topeka \’s lead was 5-2 after 2. Second period shots were 19-5 in favor of Topeka , and 34-11 combined.
The third period got chippy as a visibly frustrated Wildcat team fell behind further, with Tony Thomas scoring his eighth of the season at 3:43, assisted by Bryce Johnson. With 1:37 left, 84 minutes in penalties were assessed. Then, with :51 seconds left, Wildcat Andy Cramer was ejected and assessed a 5:00 major for spearing. Topeka used the ensuing power play to set up Alec Hagaman for the hat trick, scored at19:40 and assisted by Patrick Kirtland and Kurtis Anton. The goal provided the exclamation point on a convincing victory by the RoadRunners, who improved to 15-0-1 in Landon Arena this season. The ‘Cats were held to 3 shots in the final period, and just 14 in the game. \’Runner netminder Eric Rohrkemper improved to 8-0-1 this season.
Topeka (25-5-3) and Wichita Falls (9-18-5) wrap up the three game series on Saturday night, closing out an eight game homestand. Topeka travels to face the Texas Tornado next week.
- Forward Michael Hill was taken to the hospital with a cut on his neck, and defenseman Jeff Burke was also transported to the hospital after tumbling awkwardly into the end boards in the third period.
- In the five prior 7 game win streaks, 4 ended with a one-goal loss, 3 of them in overtime (2) or shootout (1). Three of the streaks ended on the road, two at home, and two of the five were 4-3 losses to Wichita Falls, one at home (shootout) and one on the road (overtime).
- The RoadRunners longest streak without a loss in regulation is 16 games. They went 14-0-2 in that span in the 2008-09 season.