Tornado bounce back to topple Topeka
After dropping a game to the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Friday, the Texas Tornado returned home to Dr Pepper Arena to play a pair of games against the Topeka RoadRunners. Saturday’s game turned into a nail-biter, but the Tornado were able to hold on and win 4-3 despite playing the final 37.9 seconds 6-on-3.
Tyler Rostenkowski and John Kirtland were each whistled for penalties in the final two minutes, but Texas was able to keep the puck out of the net in the final seconds and hang on. Joakim Jutras got the start in net and made 23 saves for the victory. Topeka outshot Texas by a 26-24 margin.
For just the third time all season, the Tornado got scored on first, with the opening goal coming on the power-play at 9:36 of the first period. Sean Gaffney ended up with the goal after knocking one in at the doorstep. The puck hopped off the stick of Gage Hough, but right to Gaffney who powered it into the open net for the goal.
Texas answered back just two minutes later with a power-play goal of its own. Kirtland skated the puck along the blue line and fired it toward the goal, but before it got there it hit the stick of Jack Prince, who deflected it past RoadRunners goalie Peter Traber to tie the game.
With 1:26 to play in the first, the Tornado took the lead. With Taylor Herndon waiting at the top of the crease, the puck deflected off Traber’s pad to Herndon’s stick, and he put it in for the goal.
Texas took its 2-1 lead into the second period, but Topeka tied the score at the 5:35 mark thanks to Brian Christie. Christie took the puck from behind the red line, skated all the way into the Tornado zone and snapped a wrist shot past Jutras for the goal.
With the score now tied at 2, Joe Mottiqua put the Tornado back on top at the 9:07 mark. Prince and Mitchell McPherson both took shots that Traber stopped, but Mottiqua put home the second rebound for the goal and the Tornado regained the lead.
Two minutes later, CJ Reuschlein doubled the Tornado lead. Justin Greenberg won the faceoff back to Reuschlein, who unleashed a wrist shot over the glove hand of Traber for the goal, and extended the Tornado lead to 4-2.
But with exactly three minutes left in the period, Jake Lynes cut the Tornado lead in half. He picked up the puck in the left-wing corner and skated to the slot, then slipped it past the outstretched pad of Jutras for the goal.
That proved to be the final goal, but the third period didn’t end without some excitement. The Tornado were forced to kill off a 5-on-3 in the final 37.9 seconds. When the RoadRunners pulled the goalie to make it a 6-on-3 advantage, Texas found themselves in a dire situation. But with 15 seconds left, Jack Prince sent it the length of the ice, and Topeka was unable to get it back into their offensive zone.
The RoadRunners and Tornado will play again Sunday evening, with the opening faceoff scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Joakim Jutras
2. Mico Solorzano
1. Jack Prince