The Texas Tornado entered Sunday nights’ game against the Topeka Roadrunners looking for a sweep in their NAHL South Division Quarter Finals match up, and a sweep is exactly what they got. On Saturday the Tornado used a physical game to take a one game to none lead with a 2-1 win on the road. In a direct reversal of Saturday’s first period it was the Tornado who came out buzzing and controlled much of the stanza. Just when it looked as if the period would close with neither team putting the puck in the net, Nick Blase tried to glove down a bouncing puck at the blue line. The puck eluded Blase, turning Sean Gaffney loose on a breakaway. Gaffney put it off the right post and in the ensuing scramble Kyle Sharkey snuck it past Hunter Leisner at 19:23.
Early in the middle frame Alexey Soloviev got a Tornado rush started when he found Jason Eddy and CJ Reuschlein behind the defense. Blase hit Reuschlein from deep within the Tornado end of the ice with a perfect breakout pass at the Topeka blue line. Reuschlein and Eddy went barreling into the zone with a clear path to Spencer Viele. Reuschlein faked the pass to Eddy then sent a bomb past the glove hand sending the water bottle flying. It was Reuschlein’s second goal in the series. Time of the goal was 4:59. At the mid point of the period, Max Shuart picked off a Roadrunner clearing attempt and gave it to Scott Conway all alone in front. Conway spun and put it five hole on Viele for the 2-1 Tornado lead.
Leisner and the Texas Tornado defense came up big in the third as the Roadrunners desperately turned up the heat on the Tornado goaltender. Every piece of rubber that made its way to Leisner was turned aside and cleared by the blue liners. Texas dodged a bullet with about two minutes to go in regulation when Leisner came out of the crease to play the puck off the near boards. The puck took a funny bounce right onto the tape of Topeka’s career scoring leader, but Sharkey’s shot missed the wide open net. With only 32 seconds left, Andrew Mayer was called for a trip behind the Topeka net putting the Roadrunners on a brief power play. Scott Langer called the time out to set things up for Topeka. With Texas down a man and the Roadrunners net empty, the Tornado had to hold off a 6 on 4 Roadrunners power play. Despite the two man advantage the home team could not generate a single shot on goal and the horn sounded sending the Tornado players spilling off the bench to congratulate Leisner.
Texas now holds a two games to none advantage needing to win only one of the next three game to advance to the South Division Semi Finals. The series now shifts back to Frisco, Texas and the Dr Pepper Arena for a pair of games on April 12 and 13 if necessary. Tornado fans are asked to wear black both nights for a Playoff Blackout.
Topeka for the second night in a row out shot the Tornado, this time by a 25-17 margin and both teams were 0-4 on the power play.