Three RoadRunners had two goal nights, two more had three assist efforts as Topeka outlasted Odessa for a 7-6 win on Friday night in Landon Arena. The game was the final night for team captain Cam Strong who ages out on Saturday, and his teammates were committed to sending him off to Dartmouth College a winner.
Odessa took an early 1-0 lead when Hampus Sjodahl jammed home his 31st of the season on the doorstep, and Topeka appeared to tie it up on a Quinn Preston shot that seemed to pick the top corner but was waved off. The ‘Runners tied it up at 10:50 when Marcus Russell took advantage of a friendly hop out of the left corner and buried it for his sixteenth of the year. Luka Maver roofed a power play goal at 13:57 after a gorgeous saucer pass from Cam Strong and Topeka led 2-1 at the end of the first.
The second period saw an offensive outburst from both clubs as they combined for 8 goals. Marcus Russell netted his second of the night and Topeka led 3-1, but Odessa roared back with a three goal run of their own, with Zach Zech and Derek Brown scoring followed by Gray Marr on the power play. Topeka responded with three in a row again, with JB Baker, John O’Connor, and Luka Maver putting the ‘Runners up 6-4. Sjodahl connected again on the power play to pull Odessa within one, 6-5 after 2.
JB Baker gave Topeka some much needed breathing room at 7:44, an insurance goal that proved valuable as Odessa scored again at the midway point of the period to make it 7-6, but Topeka held on to secure the victory despite a last minute hard push from the Jackalopes. Topeka outshot Odessa 38-29, with Juho Niku going the distance for the win. Jeff Makowski and Marshall Bowery each earned a “playmaker” for collecting three assists in the game.
Topeka (31-20-1) and Odessa (22-26-4) meet in game 2 of the three game weekend set on Saturday at 7:05 pm. The theme is SuperHero Night. The game will be webcast on FASTHockey.com and 88.9 FM inside the arena.