As we enter the final stretch of the season, every game takes on greater significance. And with the South Division leading Bulls in town, the RoadRunners couldn't have picked a better time to break out of their midseason lull.
Friday night was less like World War III (see the last series in Amarillo) and more like an actual hockey game. In fact, there was not a single fight in the entire contest and only 11 total penalties. Both defenses played up in the first period resulting in only seven combined shots (five for Amarillo and two for Topeka) and no goals going into the second.
In the second period, while fighting off an Amarillo power play, Sean Gaffney and Brandon Brossoit found a seam down the center of the ice and broke out. Screaming towards the goal, Brossoit fed Gaffney who found room between Paul Berrafato's glove and the left post to put the RoadRunners ahead 1-0.
That would be the game winner but holding the Bulls off was anything but easy. The final two minutes of the game were a barrage of shots by Amarillo as they relentlessly pressed the puck in the RoadRunners zone.
"That was a real, hard working team effort tonight," said Head Coach Scott Langer. "Particularly on defense, the way we were able to turn back all those shots at the end to hold down a 1-0 lead. That's hard to do in this league."
Spencer Viele had a huge game between the pipes for Topeka, stopping all 22 shots on goal in what was a return to form for the RoadRunners standout goaltender. It was Viele's second shutout of the season.