The Texas Tornado were on their heals against the Topeka Roadrunners early in their NAHL South Division, contest leading to multiple scoring chances for the home team. Fortunately, Hunter Leisnerwas up to the task. Texas seemed to control the middle third of the frame before Topeka came back toward the end of the period. While neither team piled up a large number of shots on goal, many of the shots that were taken were quality scoring chances.
After a scoreless first, the Tornado went on the power play thanks to a Tomas Nechala tripping penalty just 21 seconds into the period. Texas won the face-off to Spencer Viele’s left and Nick Neville held the puck in at the far point. Neville slid it down the board between two Topeka defenders to Justin Greenberg at the half-wall. Greenberg skated it to the dot then found Drew Mayer alone at the far hash mark for a onetimer into the back of the net. The power play goal came at 0:29.
Topeka managed to pull even with a puck forced through Leisner from the far post in a big scramble in the crease. Michael Covach was credited with the goal while Drew Kariofiles got the lone assist. Time of the goal was 12:01. With just 13.1 seconds left in the period Nechala intercepted a pass in the neutral zone sending the Roadrunners in on a 3 on 2 break. Kyle Sharkey was a full stride off side when Nechala brought the puck across the line, but the linesmen missed the call. Nechala ripped a shot from the high slot that Leisner kicked to the near boards where Sharkey sent it back out front and Tyler Andrew put a onetimer five hole.
At 15:18 of the third the referee Jake Brenk blew a call even more egregious than the missed off side. Off a scramble in front of the Topeka net the puck squirted out to the near circle with Scott Conway chasing it down as Viele had his mask knocked off just as Conway reached the loose puck. Conway spun and fired a shot as the whistle blew. Brenk sent Conway to the box for an unsportsmanlike conduct minor. While killing the Conway minor CJ Reuschlein was called for a slash giving the Roadrunners a 25 second 5 on 3, but the league’s top ranked penalty kill unit kept Topeka off the board.
As they had all evening the Tornado kept on the pressure with their fore check which paid dividends at the 16:29 mark. Conway controlled the puck and sent it deep from the near point. Alexey Soloviev chased it down behind Viele’s cage and fed it to Jackson Leef crashing the near post to knot the score at two and send the game into overtime.
With 2:33 to go in overtime, Reuschlein blocked a shot from the point and went racing into the zone 1 on 3. As the defense collapsed on Reuschlein he found Conway trailing down the middle. Conway’s wrister went off the crossbar.
In the shootout Topeka jumped out on top in the second round as Sharkey beat Leisner low blocker side. Conway tied it up in the third round when he skated the puck straight down the middle, deked forehand then put a backhander top shelf. Nechala put the final nail in the Tornado coffin for the Roadrunners in the fifth round. He took the puck wide right faked as though he was going to the backhand and as Leisner slid across to guard the post, Nechala drug the puck behind him with the forehand.
On the evening the Texas Tornado were 1-2 on the power play while holding Topeka scoreless on two opportunities. Topeka out shot Texas 35-19, but the game was not nearly as lopsided as the shots on goal would suggest.