Goals by Justin Hussar and Joe Van Antwerp in the third period of play lifted the Topeka RoadRunners to a 3-1 win over the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday night at the Kansas ExpoCentre. The victory gives Topeka a sweep over the Wildcats in the two game series between the North American Hockey League South division teams.
Topeka put 46 shots on goal compared to 26 by the Wildcats, the second time in three games Wichita Falls has been outshot by 20 or more without the heavy advantage showing on the scoreboard. The Wildcats were outshot 42-18 in a 4-3 loss to Texas January 14.
After a scoreless first period, Dakota Klecha would give the Wildcats their only goal of the night and a 1-0 lead 6:28 into the second period. Will Suter and Tanner Fahlstedt would record assists on Klecha’s 19th goal of the season.
Davey Middleton would tie things up at the 16:22 mark with assists from Jacob Poe and Mason Miller. It was Middleton’s third goal of the season and second in the series against the Wildcats.
With only 1:49 gone in the third period, Hussar would give Topeka the lead with an assist from Zach Schrotenboer. The goal was Hussar’s 21st of the year.
The RoadRunners would continue to fire away at Wildcats goalie Tyler Green, outshooting Wichita Falls 17-9 in the final period alone. Topeka finally broke through again with just under five minutes left in the game on Van Antwerp’s powerplay goal. Brian Christie and Andrew O’Leary would get assists on the goal.
There were plenty of fireworks as the game came to an end. Klecha and the RoadRunners Andrew White dropped the gloves and tangled at the buzzer, with both players drawing major and misconduct penalties and Klecha also being tagged with an instigator.
First place Topeka improves to 27-8-2 and increases their lead in the NAHL South to five points over Texas. The RoadRunners continue a lengthy homestand with a two game series against the Springfield Jr. Blues January 29-30.
Wichita Falls drops to 17-17-4 on the season and find themselves in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season. The Wildcats take the ice again Saturday as they head into Amarillo for a battle against the third place Bulls. The puck drops at 7 p.m.
In the NAHL South:
The Texas Tornado lost ground to Topeka as the Fairbanks Ice Dogs completed a two game sweep of the boys from Frisco with a comeback victory on Friday. Two third period goals lifted the Ice Dogs to a 6-5 win as they cling to their one point lead over the Alaska Avalanche in the NAHL West.
Patrick Anderson and Ian McGilvrey both flirted with hat tricks as the New Mexico Mustangs crushed the Corpus Christi IceRays 6-0 at the Santa Ana Star Center. Mustangs goalie Marco Wieser, traded by Corpus Christi earlier in the season, earned his first career shutout against his former teammates.
Amarillo was idle on Friday night.
Current NAHL South standings:
- Topeka RoadRunners, 27-8-2 (56 points)
- Texas Tornado, 23-8-5 (51 points)
- Amarillo Bulls, 22-8-3 (47 points)
- Wichita Falls Wildcats, 17-17-4 (38 points)
- Corpus Christi IceRays, 15-21-2 (32 points)
- New Mexico Mustangs, 10-23-3 (23 points)