A slow start troubled the Topeka RoadRunners Saturday night.
Heading into the first intermission down 3-0, Topeka valiantly battled in the second and third periods, but they could not mount a comeback, falling 4-2 at Landon Arena.
Defensive zone turnovers plagued the RoadRunners (11-21-3) early, as the Brahmas pressured to open the scoring.
Following a number of scoring chances, a 3-on-1 paid off for Lone Star (26-8-1) at 13:19, as a shot from forward Austin Kamer eluded goaltender Mike Rockwell.
Rockwell looked to be screened, as forward Troy York fired in another one at 15:06, doubling the lead to 2-0.
After replacing Rockwell, goaltender Ben Churchfield surrendered the third goal of the night at 15:29, making it 3-0. Forward Pete Kessel got credit for the goal, his 20th of the season.
“When you get those slow starts like we did tonight, it kind of puts you behind the eight ball from the get go,” RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said.
Churchfield, who is a Sheffield, Great Britain native, played strong after giving up the goal, stopping 30 of 32 shots on the night.
“Ben was an addition we just brought in recently,” Kamrass said. “He stepped in tonight and really played well.”
The Brahmas made it 4-0 at the 9:39 mark of the second period, as a sprawling Churchfield couldn’t stop a rebound by Kessel.
Defenseman David Cyr got the Runners on the board at the 11:33 mark, with a shot finding its way through traffic, beating Prawdzik. It was Cyr’s first goal of the year in a RoadRunners’ uniform.
“David was a good addition for us over the break,” Kamrass said. “He’s a hardworking, steady and reliable defenseman.”
Forward Phil Erickson, another newcomer, scored his first goal for Topeka at 19:31 of the third period, finishing off the scoring.
Topeka will now head to Shreveport, La., where they will battle another NAHL South foe, the Shreveport Mudbugs. The two teams tussle Jan 12-14 at George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum.
“We’ve got to be good against Shreveport,” Kamrass said. “Our guys will need to be focused all 60 minutes.”