Back to back losses to St. Louis had trimmed the RoadRunners South Division lead to just 2 points, but a gritty 4-2 win on Saturday night on the road cut Topeka\’s Magic Number for clinching the South title to 7.
In the first period the penalty bug hit Topeka early as they were forced to kill three penalties in the first 15:00 and successfully did so, but on the \’Runners first power play St. Louis scored a shorthanded tally with Jordan Bourgonje picking the top corner on a 2-on-1 break at 17:34. The Bandits led 1-0 after 1.
In the second period Topeka fashioned the most complete period of the weekend, outshooting St. Louis 17-10 and tying the game at 1-1 when Michael Hill flipped a rebound home on the powerplay at 10:03 assisted by Erik Higby and Alec Hagaman. The game was still tied at the end of the second period.
RoadRunner fans had been waiting to see when Cole Schneider would regain his scoring touch. This was the night. Sprung on a short-handed breakaway just 2:00 into the third period, Schneider blew by the Bandit defenseman and beat goalie Tyler Bruggeman low on the glove side for a 2-1 lead. Then at 10:57, just :13 seconds after coming out from serving a penalty he scored again, slapping home a rebound for a 3-1 lead. The insurance goal proved invaluable when St. Louis scored a power play goal with 3:17 to go. St. Louis pulled Bruggeman in the final minute but Martin Sundstedt blocked a Bandit shot then took off through the neutral zone, dishing to Alec Hagaman who sealed the win with an empty net tally at 19:35. Evan Karambelas stopped 27 shots for the victory.
The 4-2 win for Topeka knocks their Magic Number down to 7 to clinch the South crown. The \’Runners pick up their 40th win and head to Wichita Falls next weekend.