RoadRunner Makes History in 3-2 Win
Basketball tourneys are fun and all but they don’t hold a candle to playoff caliber hockey. That’s what the Topeka faithful witnessed at Landon Arena Friday night as Kyle Sharkey set the All-Time Franchise Record for Points in a thrilling shootout win over the division rival Texas Tornado.
Both teams sparred to a draw in the first period and went into the intermission scoreless. Texas wasted no time in the second as Andrew Mayer capitalized on Tomas Nechala’s tripping penalty to give the Tornado a 1-0 at 0:29. Michael Covach evened the game by taking a feed from Drew Kariofiles at 12:01. Then, with less than 20 seconds to go in the period, Tyler Andrew fired in a tie-breaking goal to give the Runners a 2-1 lead. By virtue of an assist on the play, Kyle Sharkey found himself all alone as the top point getter in RoadRunner history.
Sharkey had tied the points record (122), previously held by Ryan White, last weekend against Odessa. A three-year RoadRunner, Sharkey is having by far and away his best season with 30 goals and 33 assists. And with four more games remaining in the regular season, Sharkey has plenty of time to add to this accomplishment.
“It’s a joy for me, and I’m sure for the fans as well, to see Kyle’s patience and hard work culminate in a moment like this,” said RoadRunners Head Coach Scott Langer. “It’s a great example of the dedication it takes to be mentioned alongside players like Corey Stark, Josh Kamrass and Ryan White who came before and set the standard.”
The RoadRunners would ride that high until Jackson Leef broke the spell, tying the game at 16:29 in the third. Despite a furious assault by the Runners in the final minutes, Tornado goalie Hunter Leisner held the line and sent the game into overtime.
Neither team could break out in the extra frame, leading to a Sudden Death Shootout. Playing off a Hollywood script, it was Sharkey who gave the Runners a one goal edge on the second attempt. Scott Conway evened things up with a goal of his own on Texas’ fourth attempt. Spencer Viele denied the Tornado’s fifth shot and then watched birthday boy Tomas Nechala (who turned 20 on Thursday) completely undress Leisner, wrapping the puck around his back for the game clinching goal.
These two teams will battle it out again Saturday night at Landon Arena. Following the game, the RoadRunners will auction off their Shriners Jerseys. Half of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Sunday night, the 'Runners will conclude the series with Texas at 6pm. Topeka Habitat for Humanity is selling tickets for the game at their Topeka ReStore location (corner of Topeka Boulevard and 29th St.) with a portion of the proceeds going to homes for local families. Following the game, there will be a team autograph session on the ice brought to you by Qdoba. For more information on tickets, call 785-286-PUCK or visit the Expocentre Box Office.