A hard-fought contest didn’t go in the Topeka RoadRunners’ favor Saturday.
Deadlocked at one apiece after regulation, Springfield forward Max Nylander ended the contest at 3:08 of overtime, scoring his 11th goal of the year. His wrist shot from the right circle clanked off the post and past goaltender Ryan Snowden, giving the Jr. Blues a 2-1 victory at Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Springfield (20-20-2) outshot Topeka 5-2 in the extra frame.
“Our guys fought hard tonight,” RoadRunners coach Josh Kamrass said. “We played a solid hockey game. A bad bounce there in overtime, but a great defensive battle between two teams.”
Topeka (15-26-5) played a solid first period Saturday, building off Friday’s 4-3 victory. Despite no tallies, they outshot Springfield 10-5 and played tight defensively.
“We were fortunate to come out as hard as we did and continue our effort from Friday,” Kamrass said. “I thought our guys did a great job at both ends of the ice.”
The Jr. Blues were able to open the scoring at 3:20 of the second period, however. Forward Brennan Blaszczak found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the season, putting Springfield on top until the midway portion of the frame.
At 11:16 forward Alexei Statsenko, of Moscow, Russia, buried his second goal of the season to even the game at one apiece. Defenseman Matthew Barnes, of Barrie, Ontario, received credit for his ninth assist of the season on the play.
With defense in mind in the third period, neither team amassed many quality scoring chances. Topeka carried a 9-6 shots on goal advantage in the frame but had to settle for overtime.
Springfield goaltender Jordan Greenfield-Flemon got the win in the contest, with 30 saves on 31 shots, in just his second game with the Jr. Blues.
Snowden got the overtime loss, with 27 save on 29 shots.
After a weekend in a new city and new arena, Kamrass said he and his team are thankful for the positive experience.
“Going on the road is something we’re accustomed to, but we considered this weekend to be home games,” Kamrass said. “We kind of took that mindset, and we were fortunate our owner Don (Stone) and their owner Tony Sdao were gracious enough to set this up and let us have some quality time together as a group.”
Topeka now heads to Corpus Christi, Texas to take on the IceRays Feb. 16-17 at the American Bank Center.
“Corpus is on a roll right now, so it’s going to be a good test for us,” Kamrass said. “We’re chasing them in the standings for that fourth spot, so we have to make sure we play with a purpose.