The Texas Tornado faced off in the rubber match of their three game series on Sunday, in what was a preview of the NAHL South Division first round playoff match up. After the Roadrunners prevailed in a shoot out on Friday, the Tornado returned the favor with a shoot out victory of their own on Saturday. On Sunday the game started with the Tornado controlling play early as the vast majority of the first three and a half minutes were played in the Roadrunners zone. At the 3:50 mark Topeka went on the power play as the result of a cross checking call against CJ Reuschlein. The Tornado penalty added to their league leading numbers by limiting the Roadrunners to a single shot on goal with the man advantage. Topeka had an odd man rush around the 8:00 minute mark, but Michael Hoy got on his horse to chase down Juraj Kucirkothen laying out to take away the shooting lane forcing the puck to the end boards. The teams traded scoring chances the rest of the period and went into the first intermission knotted up at zero.
Topeka jumped out to the lead in the second period off a draw to Aaron Davis’ left. Drew Kariofiles pulled it back to Brogan Rafferty for a wrister through traffic and behind Davis who appeared to not see the puck until it was in the back of the net at 2:54. Right at four minutes later a 2 on 1 break by Kariofiles and Jake Kamrass led to Kariofiles firing the puck over the glove hand of Davis. Time of the goal was 6:55. The Roadrunners added to their lead on another odd man rush with Kyle Sharkey taking the puck into the zone then dropping it for Sean Gaffney. Gaffney sent a wrister on net that was redirected in front by Tyler Andrew.
With just seconds gone in the third, Brandon Platt took the puck behind the Topeka net where Kariofiles leveled him with an elbow to the face with no whistle. Texas did draw a high sticking call, but a broken play at the near point led to even another Topeka odd man rush with Tyler Poulsen picking up the unassisted short handed goal at 5:14.
Texas had another power play to close out the game and were eventually able to break through at 19:51 when Alexey Soloviev blasted one from the far point. Spencer Viele made the save but coughed up a big rebound that Platt immediately sent right back on goal to prevent the shutout.
Topeka won the shots on goal battle 29-28. Texas did play well with the special teams with the exception of the Topeka shorty. The Tornado penalty kill held the Roadrunners off the board on four Topeka power plays. Texas’ power play had multiple good scoring chances but just could not get the puck past Viele until the Platt goal late. They finished the night 1 for 6. With the win Topeka locked up the second seed in the division and hme ice advsntage for the first round of the playoffs. That means that the Tornado will return to Topeka in a couple of weeks to kick off the post season. Between now and the they will host the Amarillo Bulls for the final regular season games of the season on March 29 and 30.