SOUTH DIVISION FINALS – GAME 2 RECAP
Often times, coaches who open their playoff series on the road talk about getting a split of the first two games, because in effect, that steals home ice advantage away from the higher seeded team. Having already secured a Game 1 victory, though, Scott Langer and the RoadRunners were focused on one thing only, and that was to win Game 2.
An early mistake put Topeka behind the proverbial 8-ball, however, when a bad line change just :19 seconds from the opening faceoff resulted in a call of too many men on the ice and an Amarillo power play. Topeka had gone a perfect 9 for 9 on penalty kills, but the Bulls scored just :07 seconds into the man advantage as defenseman Brendan Vetter fired home a midpoint slapshot and the Bulls took a 1-0 lead. Topeka appeared to tie the game later in the period but the puck was ruled to have been kicked in, though video seems to indicate otherwise. Amarillo's 1-0 lead stood at the end of 20 minutes, with Topeka outshooting the Bulls 16-8.
Topeka would eventually tally an equalizer, just as a 5-on-3 power play expired when Mike Gornall snapped home a rebound at 17:32 of the second period, assisted by Jake Kamrass and Tyler Poulsen. Topeka dominated with a 29-18 shots on goal advantage through the first two periods, but the game remained tied at a goal apiece.
During an aggressive forecheck in the third period, Topeka took the lead at 11:32 when Yu Hikosaka redirected a Mike Gornall shot past the blocker of Collin Delia. It capped a brilliant shift for Hikosaka, who seconds before finished a strong check in the right wing corner that precipitated the turnover which Gornall fired at the net. Topeka's defense clamped down, along with a relentless forecheck to keep Amarillo at bay. The Bulls were able to pull their goalie for the second night in a row in favor of the extra skater in an attempt to tie the game, but as the clock wound down to the final seconds, Tyler Poulsen launched the puck from inside his own blue line into the abandoned net to seal the 3-1 win.
The RoadRunners can close out the series on Thursday night, April 24 at the Kansas Expocentre in Game 3 of the series. If a Game 4 is needed, it would be Friday, April 25. A potential Game 5 would revert to the Amarillo Civic Center on Monday April 28. Fans can hear every game live with play-by-play provided by Arch Ecker on SportsRadio 1490 KTOP, or watch pay-per-view video online at FASTHockey.com. Game time for Thursday's Game 3 is 7:05 pm CDT, with the pregame show beginning at 6:45 pm.
- The RoadRunners have won 5 consecutive playoff games for the first time in team history. The prior record was 4, set in 2008.
- The team to score first had won all 13 meetings between Topeka and Amarillo until Game 2.
- Tyler Poulsen leads the team with 8 points in 5 playoff games. Linemates Yu Hikosaka and Jake Kamrass each average a point per game with 5.
- If Topeka advances to the next round of the playoffs (Robertson Cup Semi-Finals), it will be a best of three series with all three potential games played in Landon Arena. Dates and opponent will be determined. The Robertson Cup Finals will also be a best of three series with all three games played at the home of the higher seeded team.