Runners drop series opener with Bulls

The Topeka RoadRunners entered the final week of the regular season, hoping to build some momentum going into the offseason.

They will have one more chance to prove themselves after a tough game Friday night.

Despite having some good scoring chances, Topeka (17-38-4) struggled to finish its chances, falling 6-0 to the hands of the Amarillo Bulls.

“That’s not the way our team plays, and we know it,” RoadRunners head coach Justin DeMartino said. “We have to understand that there’s still something to play for.”

Amarillo (22-26-11) got off to a hot start, scoring at 6:27 off the stick of forward Alex Peterson, to make it 1-0.

At the 12-minute mark, forward Gleb Murtazin netted his seventh goal of the season, making it 2-0 Bulls.

Topeka appeared to cut the lead in half late in the first period, with forward Nigel Nelson’s shot appearing to hit off the inside post and bounce back out, but play continued. When a stoppage took place, it was called no goal on the ice, leaving Topeka without a tally heading into the first intermission.

The Bulls tacked on a couple more in the second and third periods, respectively, keeping Topeka at bay.

Goaltender Sam Metcalf struggled in net for the RoadRunners, stopping 19 of the 25 shots he faced. He was replaced by goaltender Derek Fournier in the third period. Fournier stopped two shots on the evening.

The two teams each will play their final games of the 2017-2018 season Saturday night at Landon Arena. A pre-game pep rally will kick things off at 4 p.m. in the Expocentre parking lot, with 4 Guys Food Truck, face painting, balloons, and more available for fans.

Doors will open to Landon Arena at 6 p.m. with puck drop just after 7 p.m.

“We’re upset about our effort, but it’s a two- game series,” DeMartino said. “We’ll come out ready to play tomorrow.”