Tornado halt four-game losing streak with 2-0 win
The Texas Tornado snapped a four-game losing streak on Friday with a 2-0 victory over the Topeka Roadrunners. Hunter Leisner earned his first shutout as a member of the Tornado while stopping all 23 shots that came his way. Both teams came into the contest banged up, with Texas missing both Jordan and Justin Greenberg while Topeka was missing both of their typical goaltenders, Peter Traber and Collin LeMay. Instead, it was Alexander Larson in goal for the Roadrunners, who had played very well this season for Cleveland in the NA3HL.
Skyler Spiller, playing in his first game since serving a 10-game suspension, took on Richard Young in a spirited bout in which both players landed solid punches at 5:01 of the first. The fight lasted close to a minute before Spiller scored the takedown and both went to the box.
Texas picked up the lone marker of the opening period at 9:33 on a goal from Taylor Herndon. Herndon skated down the left-wing boards and softly sent the puck on net, but it managed to slip in between the pads of Alex Larson and trickled over the goal line. Herndon, whose three goals at Top Prospects were tied for the tournament lead, now has 14 goals on the season.
Neither team was able to score in the second, though it was not a period which was played without incident. Approaching the midway point of the second, a scrum in front of the Tornado bench resulted in an extra minor assessed to Topeka, though Texas was unable to capitalize on the power-play. Under two minutes after the penalty expired, Spiller’s night was cut short after he was given a five-minute major and game ejection for head contact after a hit on Mick Bruce. Though Topeka had their chances, they were unable to score on their five-minute power-play.
As the second period came to a close, Luke Veitch was ruled to have taken a swipe at a Tornado player with his stick and was given a five-minute major for spearing as well as a game misconduct, allowing Texas to open up the third period on a five-minute power-play of their own. Much like the Roadrunners, however, the Tornado were unable to convert on the extended man-advantage, and it remained 1-0 through most of the third period.
Topeka, who had three power-plays following their kill of the five-minute penalty, had opportunities in the third to pick up a game-tying goal. But Leisner stood tall in net and the rest of his team played solidly in front of him to keep the Roadrunners off the scoreboard. With under a minute left in regulation, the Roadrunners were forced to pull their goaltender. As they came through the neutral zone with the extra attacker, Prince intercepted a pass and scored his league-leading 36th goal of the season from just outside the Topeka blue line for any insurance the Tornado may have needed.
The Tornado and Roadrunners will close out their season series on Saturday with a 7:00 start from Landon Arena in Topeka.