The Texas Tornado turned the tables on the Topeka Roadrunners Saturday prevailing 5-4 in a shoot out. As they did on Friday night, Texas came from behind to force overtime. The Tornado erased deficits of 3-0 in the first and 4-2 in the third. The victory by the Tornado kept the door ajar for them to possibly snatch the second seed in NAHL South Division final standings.
Topeka got on the board early as Tomas Nechala who had last night’s shoot out game winner bumped it past Mitch Mueller at the far point and went with Kyle Sharkey on a 2 on 1. Nick Neville went down to take away the passing lane and Nechala ripped it just under the cross bar glove side. Time of the goal was 3:43. At 5:06 CJ Reuschlein was called for high sticking on his way to the bench setting up the Topeka power play. It took the Roadrunners only 31 seconds to cash in as Trace Strahle put a rebound over Hunter Leisner’s right pad from the near hash mark. Moments later Jason Eddy was called for checking from behind and was immediately challenged by Brandon Brossoit. Eddy quickly put Brossoit down and landed a couple more rights while on the ice drawing the additional 10 minute misconduct. As the linesman was leading Eddy to the box, Codey Hansen, who is tied for third in the league in major penalties, came off the bench to go after Eddy. Hansen made it all the way across the ice to Eddy but was restrained by Sharkey and was then allowed to return to the bench Scot Free.
Topeka went up by three on a short handed, stick handling display by the Roadrunner’s career leader in points. Sharkey blocked a shot at the point and took it the other way before dangling between Michael Hoy and Neville then went five hole on Leisner.
Justin Greenberg finally broke through for the Tornado with a power play goal at 13:48. Patrick Pollock sent a clearing attempt from the end boards that Greenberg picked off at the top of the near circle and fired a wrister into the net. With 9:04 to go in the second, Luke Vetch snapped Drew Mayer’s stick with a slash putting Texas’ top ranked power play on the job. Off a defensive zone draw to Leisner’s right, Greenberg fed Max Shuart at center ice, took the return pass to the bottom of the far circle and put it top shelf, short side on Spencer Viele at 11:15.
Topeka came right back at 13:18 to grab another two goal lead on a wrister from Sean Gaffney from the high slot off Leisner that dribbled across the line. Tyler Andrew and Michael Pastor got the assists.
The third period was scoreless until just over six minutes to go. Jackson Leef won a 3 on 1 puck battle along the end boards to maintain puck possession. Leef’s hard work led to the puck eventually making it’s way to Neville at the far point for a slapahot that deflected off Drew Kariofiles stick. Brandon Hawkins grabbed it just above the goal line and fired the sharp angle shot over Viele for his league leading 35th of the year. As time was winding down Leisner headed to the bench for the extra attacker. With just 29.9 second to go Leef sent the puck from behind the net to Greenberg just outside the crease to Viele’s right and he found Scott Conway in the slot for a quick wrister that Viele never saw until it was past him.
The extra period was scoreless bringing the second shoot out in as many nights. Conway continued his heroics as the second shooter for the Tornado when he simply skated down the middle and blasted it over Viele.
Tyler Poulsen pulled Topeka even with a back hander in the third round.
Leef was the next shooter for the Tornado and had Viele beat but sent it off both posts as it stayed out. Neville potted the game winner in the fifth and final round as he got Viele to drop then put a fore hand shot under the cross bar.
The Tornado out shot the Roadrunners 24-18 in the game and continued their strong special teams play as they scored on 2 of 3 power play opportunities while limiting Topeka to a single goal on 5 chances.