Heading into a decisive third period in Shreveport, Louisiana, the Topeka RoadRunners and Shreveport Mudbugs were deadlocked at one Friday night.
A third period goal from the Mudbugs wound up proving the difference, as a powerplay goal from forward Croix Evingson and a late emptynet goal gave Shreveport (21-11-1) a 3-1 win over Topeka Friday night.
Topeka (11-23-3) got off to a strong start, with forward Devon Fields opening the scoring at the 12:15 mark of the first period. For Fields, it was his third tally of the season, and it gave the Runners a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
“I thought our effort out of the gate was really good,” RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said. “Our guys were playing with a purpose and intensity.”
Topeka outshot Shreveport 8-5 in the first period, before being outshot in the second and third periods, ending the night outshot 33-23.
In a physical second period, the fisticuffs ramped up with newly acquired defenseman David Cyr toeing off with Shreveport forward Brandon VanSweden at the 5:49 mark.
“It was good to see David playing tough, hard-nosed hockey,” Kamrass said. “
On an ensuing powerplay due to a holding call on Cyr on the play, a powerplay goal from forward Kristaps Jakobsons tied the game at one at 6:19. It stayed locked at one into the second intermission.
Following a penalty on Topeka defenseman Keenan Johnson at the 8:52 mark of the third, a Mudbugs powerplay lead to the game-winner, which came at the 10-minute mark of the frame, with Evingson’s shot beating goaltender Ben Churchfield.
With an empty net, in favor of an extra attacker, Shreveport tallied an emptynet goal to seal it at 19:55.
Churchfield stopped 30 of 32 shots for the loss, while Shreveport Dylan Lubbesmeyer got the win, with 22 saves on the night.
With the loss, the RoadRunners will now look to salvage a win in the series in game three Saturday night at the George’s Pond Hirsch Coliseum.
“The stretch we’re on right now is tough for any team,” Kamrass said. “But the group we have in this room is staying positive. They have not quit, and they are going to continue to work. The positive for us is we don’t have any quitters in that room.”