Runners begin 3-game series Thursday

When the Topeka RoadRunners met up with Corpus Christi for a three-game series three weeks ago, the RoadRunners completely dominated the IceRays.

 

Needless to say, RoadRunners coach Scott Langer is expecting to face a highly motivated team when the RoadRunners host Corpus Christi in a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Landon Arena.

The RoadRunners handed the IceRays beatings of 7-1, 6-3 and 9-4 in the previous series.

“Anytime you beat a team three in a row, they’re going to practice all week with some anger,” Langer said. “They’re going to come in here energized, for sure.”

The games in Corpus Christi featured quite a bit of extracurricular activity, with a total of 15 misconduct penalties being handed out. Three IceRays and two RoadRunners also received ejections during the series.

Langer said the RoadRunners (28-8-3) aren’t looking to settle any scores as they try to protect a six-point lead in the North American Hockey League’s South Division.

“We’re not focused on that stuff whatsoever,” he said. “After dropping that (2-1) shootout loss (Sunday) to Springfield, our focus is points. They’re coming in here to beat us and knock us off.

“Obviously, when you have a three-game series and you keep running into the same guys for three straight games, it can get testy. But we’re not entering this with that kind of mindset at all.”

The RoadRunners, who had a nine-game winning streak snapped Sunday, have been solid defensively of late, giving up just two goals during the past three games. Rasmus Tirronen stopped 31 shots in Saturday’s 5-0 shutout victory before Eric Rohrkemper turned aside 22 of 23 shots Sunday.

“You got to give credit to our goaltending,” Langer said. “We’ve given up some odd-man rushes that really could cost us, and (the goalies) have helped us out.

“But for the most part, we’re not giving up a whole lot of chances. When you get through two games against Springfield and only give up a goal, that makes you feel good as a coach. We’re going to need the same efforts this weekend.”

Corpus Christi, which comes into Topeka with a record of 17-23-2, split a two-game series with Amarillo this past weekend. The IceRays are 4-3 since their series with Topeka.

“They’re really improved since the last time we played them, even though it wasn’t that long ago,” Langer said.

Michael Hill leads the RoadRunners with 45 points, while Beau Walker leads Corpus Christi with 43.

After playing seven straight at home, the RoadRunners will embark on a seven-game road trip after this weekend’s series.

 

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