The Topeka RoadRunners improved to 3-0-0 to start the season as they held off the Keystone Ice Miners (from Connellsville, PA) 3-2 in a 12-round shootout on Wednesday at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN.
For the third game in a row, Topeka got on the board first. At 8:14 of the first period, Dawson DiPietro netted his first of the year after wristing home a nice feed from Yu Hikosaka, who racked up his team leading 4th assist of the year. The ‘Runners held a 1-0 edge after 20 minutes of play.
Beau Dommer jammed home his first junior hockey goal at 7:02 of the second period, assisted by Teddy Rotenberger. Topeka’s 2-0 lead was cut in half at 16:03 of the frame when Garrett Hallford fired home a low snapshot from the high slot. The ‘Runners were able to maintain their 2-1 lead until 14:57 of the third when Scott Donahue tapped in a loose rebound to knot the score at 2 apiece. 60 minutes wasn’t enough to settle the score, and neither was the additional 5 minutes of overtime. The best chance in the extra session came on a Hikosaka breakaway that was turned aside by Ice Miner goalie Alex Blankenburg. For the second time in three games, Topeka would go to a shootout.
It ended up being what may have been the longest shootout in RoadRunner history. It lasted 12 rounds, and it wasn’t until Will Scherer tucked a shot through the goalies pads on the final approach that the game was decided. The goal required deliberation by the on-ice officials, as it was not immediately credited as a score. After some deliberation, the referee signaled it was, in fact, a good goal, one that secured the victory for Topeka. Drew Vogler was simply outstanding in net, turning aside all 12 shots he faced. Dating back to last Friday, he has successfully denied 16 consecutive shootout attempts.
Topeka (3-0-0) will have a quick turnaround as they face the Johnstown Tomahawks (1-1-0) Thursday morning at 10:00 am CDT. The teams have met just once, in last year’s Showcase, which Topeka won in a shootout. The game will be aired live on Sports Radio 1490 KTOP in Topeka, and webcast on pay-per-view at FASTHockey.com.