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SHARKEY LEAVING A LASTING MARK IN TOPEKA

By Arch Ecker

When Kyle Sharkey took the ice for the RoadRunners on an October 2010 evening in Amarillo, he was still looking to find his way with his new team.  He’d been scratched from the lineup 8 of the first 11 games and was still looking for his first point. In the first period, he raised his hands in celebration as he felt his shot had beaten Bulls goaltender Nikifor Szczerba. The puck seemed to go in and out of the net up high very quickly, and at the next stoppage (which ironically was due to a slashing call on Sharkey) the referee consulted with his linesmen and goal judge before signaling “no goal”. At 1:19 of the second period, Sharkey roofed a loose puck that rendered his first goal and first point, also giving Topeka a 3-1 lead in the game.

Now, 150 games later, Kyle Sharkey stands at the top of the mountain, tied with Ryan White for the all-time career points record at 122 points with 5 games left in the regular season to write a new record. It was a huge 5 point weekend in Odessa that helped him reach three impressive milestones in short order. The first goal he scored on Friday was his 50th career goal, making him only the third RoadRunner to ever eclipse that mark (Michael Hill – 68, Corey Stark – 59). He ended up with a hat trick on Friday night, his fourth of the year. On Saturday he scored again, his 30th of the season, joining some elite company as only 6 RoadRunners have ever accomplished that feat (Michael Hill did it twice). The biggest point was his assist on Tyler Poulsen’s power play goal in the third period, the point that tied him with Ryan White at 122 for his career. In another irony, a mistakenly credited assist in 2012 seemed to give Ryan White the career points record but review showed the assist should have gone to Sharkey, and the change was made. White later broke the record of 121 shared by Josh Kamrass and Corey Stark in the second to last game of the season. A full year and 62 points later, Sharkey and White stand even with 122 points.

In his three seasons with the RoadRunners, Sharkey’s influence is felt not only on the ice but in the community as well, as he has consistently been a fan favorite. While his mark on the record book may someday be surpassed, his lasting impression on the team and the town will continue long into the future.