Team South, featuring 6 Topeka RoadRunners, had surrendered one-goal leads in each of their first two games so when they took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after one, they knew they could ill afford to sit back against an equally hungry Team West, also looking to get their first win of the tournament after dropping their first two.
Erik Higby (Topeka) gave Team South a 1-0 lead at 7:20, with Martin Sundstedt (Topeka) registering an assist. Team West tied the game on a Justin Kirchhevel (Fairbanks) goal at 12:01, but Blake Edwards (St. Louis) gave the South a 2-1 lead just :37 seconds later. Team South outshot the West, 12-7.
Dan Sullivan (Texas) started the game and stopped 14 of 15 shots. Evan Karambelas (Topeka) entered at 9:46 of the 2nd period. The South took back-to-back penalties for Too Many Men on the ice and spent a lot of time in the 2nd killing penalties. At one point the West celebrated an apparent power play goal but it was waved off because the puck slipped into the net from the side as a mass of bodies dislodged the net just enough to allow the puck to slide in. The West outshot the South 13-11 but the 2-1 South lead still stood.
In the third period, the South got a pair of goals from Craig Kitto (St. Louis) to seal the win, the first at 5:10 assisted by Alec Hagaman (Topeka) and Zach Ledford (Wichita Falls). Kitto scored his second of the game at 12:18, this time assisted by Erik Higby (Topeka). The South won, 4-1 to finish 1-2-0 in the tournament while the West heads home 0-3-0.
The RoadRunners who played ended up a collective +2, though Team South overall was a -9. Four of the five skaters registered at least a point. Goalie Evan Karambelas (Topeka) allowed just two goals in 89:16, leading all tournament goalies with a 1.34 GAA and a .963 save percentage. Only two South players registered MORE than point, and one of them was Erik Higby with his goal and assist Wednesday morning.
The six RoadRunners along with head coach Scott Langer fly back to Kansas City Wednesday afternoon and will have one day to prepare for the arrival of the St. Louis Bandits for an eagerly anticipated weekend series. The Bandits, who also have 6 players and their head coach traveling home from the tournament have won 13 straight. Topeka won two of the three meetings between the clubs earlier this season, all three games being played in St. Louis (Chesterfield, MO).