Any team, on any given night. That\’s how the old saying goes, and that\’s how it played out on Friday night in Landon Arena as the 4th place Springfield Jr. Blues stunned the 1st place Topeka RoadRunners with a 4-1 win.
Topeka did a lot of things right in Game 1, except they overlooked one crucial ingredient: scoring goals. Springfield got on the board first after weathering a furious barrage of RoadRunner pressure in the first period when a failed clearing attempt was fired on net and saved, but after a second save a nice spin pass from Nick Curry to a wide open Jared Rickord resulted in the goal and a 1-0 Jr. Blues lead. That lead was intact after 20 minutes of play.
In the second, dogged determination by Topeka netted an equalizer, with Edgars Lipsbergs jamming home a loose puck in the crease to tie the game, but a 2-on-1 break for Springfield set up Ross Anderson for what ended up being the game winner at16:31. Springfield was playing the perfect road playoff game. They were being outshot 28-11 but were successful in slowing down the RoadRunners high speed attack and led 2-1 after two periods.
In the third, another odd man rush ended with Joey Purull snapping a wrister past Evan Karambelas on the blocker side at6:09 for a 3-1 lead, and Trent Frey added a power play goal at 10:51 to put the game away.
The RoadRunners had their chances. With 43 shots on goal, that might stand to reason, but the \’Runners simply weren\’t getting bounces, and came up justshort on a number of opportunities.
Springfield now owns a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series, with Game 2 scheduled for Saturday night in Topeka before the series shifts to the Nelson Center next weekend.