The RoadRunners will return to Landon Arena this weekend for the first time since Oct. 12th after a mostly successful road trip that saw them go 5-3-2. Despite starting the stretch strong, the Runners capped it off by dropping their last four games including two in Springfield this past weekend.
Friday night, after a scoreless first period, the 'Runners began the second period on the power play but were unable to score despite some solid puck possession and quality chances. Just :24 seconds after coming out of the penalty box, Springfield forward Josh Lammon punched home the rebound of a Joey Lupo shot at 1:15 for the 1-0 lead. Topeka tied it up on a Tyler Irvine penalty shot (slid through the five-hole) at 11:01 and pummeled the Jr. Blues net, firing 21 shots on goal in the second period alone, but the period ended with the game tied 1-1. The third was scoreless as well as the overtime period, sending the game to be decided by a shootout.
Topeka was 3-0 in shootouts on the year, while Springfield had won their only shootout of the year in their most recent game. Jr. Blues goalie Dryden McKay denied all 5 Topeka shooters, while only Lester Lancaster was able to slip one through Drew Vogler but it was enough to clinch the 2-1 win for Springfield.
Saturday's game was more of a back-and-forth affair that saw each team take the lead or tie the game through the first two periods. Even at two in the third, the Runners were on the penaty kill when Springfield's Joey Lupo broke the deadlock with a power play score. Topeka would get a last minute power play opportunity at 18:58 but were unable to capitalize, falling for their fourth straight game 3-2.
The team looks to rebound this weekend at home against the same Junior Blues for a two-game series on Friday and Saturday night. The first 500 fans to arrive at Saturday's game will receive a special youth replica Runners Road Jersey courtesy of the National Guard, Performance Tire and Wheel, The Kansas Expocentre, and Vision Bank. For more information about tickets, call 785-286-PUCK or visit the Expocentre Box Office.