The Topeka RoadRunners wrapped up a weekend series in Aberdeen with a solid 5-2 win on Saturday to close out their brief preseason schedule.
Topeka took a 1-0 lead at 5:38 of the first period and never looked back. A left wing offensive draw was controlled by the ‘Runners, and forward Jody Sick fed it back to the left point, where John O’Connor’s shot was tipped by Luka Maver into the net. At 9:52 an aggressive Topeka forecheck led to a turnover that Maver wrapped around from behind the net for a 2-0 edge. In the final minute of the period, Aberdeen’s Gavin Payne got a step around the defense and scored to cut the Topeka lead in half, 2-1 at the first intermission.
Maver, a second year RoadRunner from Slovenia completed the hat trick midway through the second period. Linemate Marshall Bowery won a loose puck battle deep in the left wing corner, and from his knees guided the puck to Maver in the circle. Maver uncorked a sharp wrister that eluded goalie Luke Van Dyke over the shoulder and Topeka led 3-1. Then at 13:02, second year defenseman Tyler Hayes collected a Wings dump in and traveled end to end, knifing through the Wings defense and burying a shot high on the glove side for a 4-1 ‘Runners lead that stood at the end of the second period. (Video here: https://t.co/LTpSH24Vgj) .
In the third period, Wings forward Will Hammer muscled his way down the right wing and cut hard to the net for a goal to close the deficit to 2 at the 6:57 mark. Topeka appeared to score a power play goal at 16:14 but after collaboration, the officials (correctly) disallowed the goal as Topeka had a player in the crease. The Wings pulled Van Dyke for a sixth attacker but Maver found Andrew Hart in the neutral zone, who fired it into the empty net for what proved to be the final 5-2 margin. Topeka outshot Aberdeen 28-20. Tyler Johnson picked up the win for Topeka.
Topeka’s preseason is over but Aberdeen will play another three exhibition games, starting with a home-and-home series with the Brookings Blizzard and then a trip to Fargo to face the USHL’s Fargo Force.
The RoadRunners launch their 2015-16 season on Friday September 11 and Saturday September 12 at home against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The Wildcats went 0-2-0 in their short preseason, dropping a pair of games to the Lone Star Brahmas.