The Topeka RoadRunners tried to crash the Texas Tornado party, but fell short, dropping a 3-2 decision on Friday night as Texas opened the doors on the newly revamped Dr. Pepper Star Center.
The long standing rivalry between the RoadRunners and Tornado took a year off as Texas went on a one season hiatus so that their arena could receive a major overhaul. The arena now features three giant HD video screens, a renovated sound system, a new concourse, a whole set of luxury suites and over 1,000 additional seats. After considerable fanfare to begin the evening, the crowd was silenced when Edgars Lipsbergs danced out of the left wing corner to bury a backhander just 1:51 into the game for a 1-0 RoadRunner lead. Texas tied the game on a dump-in that deflected off a RoadRunners glove hand and bounced past goalie Evan Karambelas to tie the game at 1-1. In the second period Topeka continued to dictate the pace but it was Texas with the lone goal. A Dave Rigatti shot from the left wing was easily stopped by Karambelas but Jack Prince was sweeping through the crease and knocked it in for a 2-1 Texas lead.
In the third period, Topeka turned up the heat even more. A power play tally from Alec Hagaman knotted the game at 2 apiece, and the ‘Runners kept up the pressure. However, Texas converted on a power play at 12:37 on a Scott Deur shot that deflected in off a skate. Topeka pulled Karambelas for the extra attacker with 1:05 left, and outshot the Tornado 24-3 in the final frame but Texas held on for the win.
Topeka (2-2-1) and the Tornado (3-1-1) meet again Saturday night in Frisco, TX at 7:05 pm. The game will be aired live on ESPN 1490 KTOP, Topeka\’s Sports Leader and webcast on B2LiveTV.com
· The game was the first regular season home game for Texas and there were a few glitches, including PointStreak and B2 not functioning properly for most of the game. The problems seem to be corrected and Saturday\’s game should be glitch free.
· Topeka utilized forward Tom Glomski on a tryout basis. He last played for the Albert Lea Thunder (NAHL).
· Forward Justin Kochan underwent surgery on Thursday and is on the mend, hoping to return in another 6-8 weeks.
· Assistant Coach R.J. Enga did not make the trip, instead he is scouting the USHL tournament. Harry Mahood and Tom Kelly assisted on the bench.