The script couldn\’t have been drawn up any better. On a night that drew the largest home crowd to ever watch a RoadRunners game (3,026) and a pregame ceremony celebrating the teams broadcaster Arch Ecker calling his 750th Junior A game, the RoadRunners capped the evening with an 8-0 drubbing of their opponent, featuring a shutout by Evan Karambelas and not one, but TWO hat tricks as Topeka completed the three game weekend sweep and a perfect 8-0-0 homestand.
After two previous games that were fraught with chippy play and rising tempers, Saturday\’s affair was all about Topeka controlling the game. \”We are not the kind of team that will allow those kind of distractions to get in the way of us getting two points, especially on home ice\”, said head coach Scott Langer. \”The best way to pay them back for the liberties they were taking early in the series was to run them out of the building on Saturday. The guys were sharp and focused and achieved that goal.\”
The ‘Runners got all the offense they would require when Nate Milam drove a power play goal over the glove hand of Phil Graveline at 2:41 of the first. Topeka\’s lead was 1-0 after one, but they were far from done as far as generating offense. In the second period, Erik Higby scored at 8:35, and Nate Milam added another power play tally at 11:14 for a 3-0 lead. Tony Thomas added a shorthanded tally at 13:53 for a 4-0 lead, and for good measure, Cory Ramsey scored his second of the year at 18:57, and Topeka led 5-0 after two, having outshot Wichita Falls 30-15.
More fireworks from the RoadRunner offense in the third period as Erik Higby scored his second of the night at 1:14 of the frame, With both Milam and Higby having scored two goals, fans were anticipating a possible hat trick but were treated to TWO as first Milam blasted a five-hole shot on the power play at 16:06 sending a barrage of hats to the ice, then Higby matched him at 18:29 with a nifty backhander under the crossbar for another hat trick and an 8-0 RoadRunner lead, which ended up being the final score. Evan Karambelas turned aside all 20 shots, earning the shutout, his first of the season.
Topeka (26-5-3) has now won 9 in a row, remaining in first place over St. Louis, who has likewise posted 9 consecutive wins. The ‘Runners next travel to Texas to face the Texas Tornado on Friday and Saturday.
· Forward Michael Hill and defenseman Jeff Burke were treated and released from the hospital, Both are being watched and monitored and should return to the ice soon.
· Each of the ‘Runners three goalies have a shutout as Evan Karambelas becomes the most recent to join the ranks.
· Erik Higby has been named NAHL South Player of The Week. Nate Milam earned an Honorable Mention.
· The RoadRunners are 8-4-1 on the road this season, and 2-2-0 at Texas, where they will travel to this coming weekend.