Texas drops regular season-series finale against Topeka, 4-1
The Texas Tornado scored the opening goal of the game in the first period, but gave up four unanswered to the Topeka Roadrunners before falling by a final score of 4-1. Coming off of his first Tornado shutout, Hunter Leisner was back in net for the Tornado and stopped 25 of 29 Roadrunners shots on goal. With the loss, the Roadrunners extend their over Texas for second place in the South division to four points.
Just as he did in Friday night’s game, Taylor Herndon opened up the scoring with a first-period goal. With the Tornado on their first power-play of the game, John Kirtland took a wrist shot from the left point that was stopped by Alex Larson. The stop produced a rebound, however, and Herndon was able to get it past Larson for his second goal in as many nights and his 15th of the season.
Just over two minutes later, the Roadrunners got on the board to tie the game on a power-play of their own. After Leisner made a stop on Richard Young’s shot from the right-wing circle, the rebound trickled to the far post. Topeka put the puck off the outside of the net initially, but Sean Gaffney was there to stuff it past Leisner and over the goal line to tie the score. Both goaltenders were tested in the first period, but neither allowed another goal before intermission. Marc Biggs nearly scored earlier in the period, but was turned away by the crossbar.
Just 39 seconds into the second, however, Topeka broke the tie on a goal by Richard Young. The puck was played up the left-wing boards and back to the point for Chris Bond, who fired a one-timer towards Leisner. Young was waiting in front of the crease to redirect the puck, which he did to give Topeka a lead which they would not relinquish. The league-leader in penalty minutes finished the game with a goal and two assists.
Topeka controlled the flow of play for most of the period, though the best scoring chance came on a Tornado power-play. A pass from the point found Jack Prince in front with an open net, but Larson scrambled back to the far post to rob Prince with an outstanding glove save. Neither team scored again in the second and Topeka took a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Much like they did in the second period, Topeka took advantage of an early goal. This time, it came on the power-play off the stick Kevin Patterson. The Roadrunners moved the puck all around the Tornado zone before it finally settled on Patterson’s stick in the slot, before firing it past Leisner for Topeka’s second power-play goal of the game. Texas was unable to generate much offense the rest of the way, and when they pulled their goalie, Ryan White found the empty net to seal the Roadrunners victory.
The Tornado will be back in action next Friday, when they travel to Amarillo for a pair of weekend games against the division-leading Bulls.