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RoadRunners gain 3 points on weekend series

WICHITA FALLS, Tex. – The Topeka RoadRunners might have found a new divisional rivalry after this weekend’s three-game series at Wichita Falls.
The RoadRunners were involved in 3 one-goal games, losing the opener 2-1, holding on in a wild 8-7 win Friday night and then dropping a 6-5 OT decision that capped the weekend on Saturday. But one thing all three games had in common was the intense, physical play that led to many penalties.
The weekend’s finale on Saturday saw the RoadRunners grab an early 3-1 lead only to have it evaporate into a 5-3 deficit heading into the final 20 minutes. Topeka, however, didn’t quit as newly acquired center Johnny DeRoche and defenseman Matt Barnes scored to send the game into overtime.
Wichita Falls’ Ricky Carbello then ended the game when he got a half-step on Topeka defenseman Trevor Zins and beat goalie Emil Gransoe (51 shots) with a shot right along theice.
Cabello followed that up by taunting the Topeka bench after he scored, which set off a brief melee that will result in suspensions for both teams.
The game opened up the same way it finished the night earlier – with lots of offense. Wildcats forward Jonathan Bendorf made it 1-0 for the hosts 3:15 into the game after a turnover in front of Gransoe, but Topeka captain Marshall Bowery – who scored in all three games – tied it a minute later.
Teammate Nick Granowicz, after a nifty pass from Zins, made it 2-1 just two minutes later, and Jeff Makowski upped it to 3-1 five minutes after that with a power-play goal.
The Wildcats, however, scored twice within four minutes before the period ended – one a short-handed breakaway – to even the game.
On Saturday night, the RoadRunners raced to a 6-1 lead late in the second period, but watched the Wildcats scrap back.
The game also saw Topeka starting goalie Ryan Snowden knocked from the game with a lower-body injury in the third period with the RoadRunners holding a 6-4 lead. He gave way to Mike Rockwell, who finished with 7 saves on 10 shots.
DeRoche netted a hat-trick in the game, while defenseman Jay Keranen and forwards Max Harper, Bowery, Alex Frye and Marcus Russell supplied the rest of the offense.
In the opener on Thursday, Snowden faced 51 shots and kept his team in the game after allowed a pair of goals to Carbella. Bowery cut Topeka’s deficit in half with a goal 6:52 into the third, but the guests couldn’t solve Wichita Falls goalie Jared Dempsey the rest of the way.
The weekend leaves the RoadRunners with an overall record of 8-11-2-1, while Wichita Falls climbs to 11-6-2. Topeka returns to action after Thanksgiving with games Friday and Saturday at Springfield.