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Runners squander lead, fall 4-3 to Bulls

The Topeka RoadRunners were less than 10 minutes away from a victory Friday night, but a late push by the Amarillo Bulls squandered that plan.

Three goals from Amarillo in the final seven minutes pushed them past the Runners, as the Bulls charged past, winning 4-3 at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Forward Eric Cooley 12th goal of the season at 17:47 capped off the comeback, with his shot beating goaltender Ben Churchfield. Churchfield stopped 27 of 31 shots on the night in the defeat.

Topeka pulled Churchfield for an extra attacker late, but they could not find the equalizer.

Forward Will Schlagenhauf got Topeka off and running Friday, with goals at 4:30 and 8:36 of the first period, giving the Runners a 2-0 after one period.

The RoadRunners outshot Amarillo 11-9 in the opening frame.

Cooley got Amarillo on the board with a powerplay tally at the 14:51 mark of the second period, cutting the Topeka lead in half going into the second intermission.

The second period was not void of fisticuffs, as Topeka defenseman Matthew Brnes and Amarillo forward Jake Nitche both received major penalties for fighting at 19:17 of the frame.

There were 73 penalty minutes in total dished out in the contest.

In the third, Topeka appeared to be in control with an early powerplay goal from forward Nick Granowicz at 1:11. Forward Jake Rosenbaum picked up his 20th assist on the play, with defenseman Jay Keranen grabbing his 8th assist.

Outshooting the RoadRunners 11-9 in the third period, Amarillo started its come back with a goal from forward Steven Ipri at 13:01.

Just 48 seconds later, the game was equalized, with forward Brendan Walkom beating Churchfield.

This led to Cooley’s late game-winner.

Topeka plays its last road game of the season Saturday night, as they look to split the weekend series at 7:05 p.m.