Runners come up short against Jackalopes

The way the Topeka RoadRunners got started on Saturday, it appeared fortune might be in their favor.

The third period had other ideas, however.

After taking a 2-1 lead into the final frame, Topeka (6-9-0) surrendered the game-tying goal early in the period and the game-winning goal late in the period, eventually falling 4-2 at Ector County Coliseum.

The loss gave Odessa (8-5-1) a three-game sweep on the weekend.

“I don’t necessarily think the outcome of the game tonight was indicative of how we played,” RoadRunners head coach Josh Kamrass said. “We played a solid 60 minutes, but a couple of unfortunate bounces cost us.”

After outshooting the Jackalopes in periods one and two, Topeka was outshot by Odessa 16-13 in the final frame and out chanced significantly.

The game-winning goal came at 15:36, with forward Zach Heintz beating Connor Murphy, as the shot deflected and ended up in the back of the net.

After pulling Murphy, Topeka could not equalize it, with forward Zac Herrman adding an empty-netter from about 200 feet away at 19:05.

In the first period, Topeka had a 2-0 lead before Odessa blinked.

After settling the puck in the slot, forward Dylan Rauh beat goaltender Alex Camarre to give Topeka its first goal of the series and a 1-0 lead at 1:12 of the period.

Just 38 seconds later, forward Chad Hillebrand got behind the Odessa defense and slipped  the puck past Camarre for a 2-0 lead.

The lead held until late in the first, when forward Peyton Frantti followed up on a rebound, beating Murphy.

Murphy had 28 saves on 31 shots Saturday, while Camarre stopped 39 of 41 shots.

Topeka will look to regroup, as they are back in action Oct 27-28, facing the Springfield Jr. Blues at the Nelson Center.