The Texas Tornado opened their NAHL South Division playoff series with the Topeka Roadrunners at Landon Arena Saturday night. The first period saw the two teams feeling one another out resulting in multiple icing calls that prevented any real flow. In fact the second shot on goal was not registered until the 9:53 mark. The Tornado had the first power play opportunity of the night at 11:52 thanks to a Codey Hansen holding penalty leading to their first and only shot of the period at 12:27 with the man advantage.
As the penalty expired Hansen jumped out of the box, and was sprung on a breakaway. Hansen drove the net and tried to go high stick side on Hunter Leisner. Leisner threw up the blocker and directed the puck to the corner to keep the game scoreless.
In the second period things settled down somewhat with both teams generating an offensive push. At 17:54, Topeka went on the power play due to a Nick Blasé cross checking minor. On the draw to Leisner’s right, Max Shuart turned on the jets to get past the defense on a lone man rush. Trace Strahle came across and drug Shuart down from behind sending him dangerously into Spencer Viele and the right post head first.
Shuart was awarded a penalty shot following discussions by the refereeing crew. Shuart took the puck wide right, carried it to the right wing hash mark and ripped it over Viele’s glove hand.
The Tornado lead was short lived though as the Roadrunners remained on the man advantage. At 18:40, Kyle Sharkey sent the puck from the top of the near circle to Kevin Patterson at the center point for a one timer through traffic. Tyler Andrew was in front to redirect it past Leisner.
Texas regained the lead early in the third thanks to strong stick work by Michael Hoy at the near point to win possession. Once he controlled the puck, Hoy sent it across ice to CJ Reuschlein who knocked it deep to Jason Eddy. Eddy lost an edge behind the net and from his stomach put a centering pass on Reuschlein’s tape and he deposited it in the back of the net. Time of the goal was 5:39. The rest of the way the ice began to tilt in the Tornado favor to the point that from about the 12:00 minute mark on, Topeka did not cross the Tornado Blue Line in a meaningful way until Viele went to the bench with just over a minute to play. Even with the extra attacker the Roadrunners generated only two shots on goal.
Officially Topeka dominated the shots on goal 36-15, but in reality it was closer than the numbers indicated. Topeka did manage a power play goal on two opportunities while the Tornado were 0-3.
The Texas Tornado now lead the best of five series one game to none and by virtue of the win now have home ice advantage.