The first period was a scoreless one, though Topeka had some good chances and two power plays, outshooting the Wildcats 12-5. The second period certainly made up for any lack of excitement in the previous frame. When goalie Tyler Johnson dropped his stick during play, Luka Maver alertly gave him his to use. But when Maver picked up the goalie stick, he was whistled for an “Illegal stick” penalty. Topeka killed it off, but went short handed again when Marcus Russell swept an opponents dropped glove away he was penalized for interference. On the ensuing power play, Wichita Falls scored on a net front deflection for a 1-0 lead. The ‘Runners tied it up quickly, though, as Luka Maver ripped a high shot to the twine, set up nicely from behind the net by Yu Hikosaka. Tyler Hayes also collected an assist. But things took an odd turn shortly afterward.
On a play where it appeared the puck had exited the Topeka zone, the Wildcats continued play and scored, as the Topeka bench erupted in protest. In the following moments, interim assistant coach Joe Clark was ejected from the game, and two RoadRunners were assessed 2-minute minors for their protests, setting up a 5-on-3 power play which the ‘Cats used to take a 3-1 lead.
Topeka cut the Wildcat lead to 3-2 when Marcus Russell finished off a power play chance but the ‘Runners couldn’t find the equalizer and the Wildcats held on for the 3-2 win.
Topeka (32-23-1) heads home to face Amarillo in the final two home games of the regular season next Friday and Saturday in Landon Arena.