Penalty-plagued Runners trip again

After seeing their 10-game win streak snapped the night before, the Topeka RoadRunners were looking to set the tone with a strong start during Saturday night’s game with St. Louis at Landon Arena.

 

Instead, Topeka exerted a ton of energy on the penalty kill in the first period and never recovered, losing 5-1 to the Bandits.

Topeka, which outshot St. Louis 30-15, took six penalties in the first and trailed 3-1 at the first intermission.

“It was certainly very interesting, to say the least,” Langer said of the first period. “I think it showed you the difference when we were five-on-five in the third — there was quite a bit more hockey going on there.

“We did take some bad penalties, (but) we probably deserved to be on the power play quite a bit in the third period. I think they assumed the game was just over. But (giving up) five goals on 15 shots isn’t going to get you anything either.”

Stephen Bopp scored a pair of power-play goals in the first for St. Louis, while Brad Smith added an even-strength goal. Zach Schrotenboer scored a power-play goal at 14:15 for Topeka’s lone goal.

St. Louis (39-13-4) ran away with the game midway though the second period with back-to-back goals from Kevin Crowe and Evan Stibbard. The Bandits took only three shots in the second period, while the RoadRunners (42-11-3) came up empty on 11 shots.

For the second straight night, the RoadRunners’ starting goalie was pulled in the second period. Rasmus Tirronen stopped just seven of 12 shots before being relieved by Eric Rohrkemper after St. Louis scored its fifth goal.

“I don’t know if (the goalies) just pressed too hard this weekend. It’s tough to say,” Langer said. “I know they’ll respond.

“We’re not going to forget about this, and we’re not going to forget about them doing the sweep dance on our ice.”

Bandits’ goalie Tom Comunale had a strong outing, collecting 29 saves.

Langer hopes the sweep will serve as a wake up call for the RoadRunners.

“When you’ve got a team full of Division I athletes, everybody’s going to gun for you and try to prove that they’re better. St. Louis did a great job this weekend. We just got to keep moving forward. We have big things going on.”

The RoadRunners, who were again without Michael Hill, Joe Van Antwerp and Andrew O’Leary, still remain a point shy of clinching the North American Hockey’s League regular season title.

St. Louis 3 2 0 — 5

Topeka 1 0 0 — 1

First period — 1. St. Louis, Bopp (Gettinger), 5:47; 2. St. Louis, Smith (Kleiman, Stibbard), 10:15: 3. Topeka, Schrotenboer (unassisted), 14:15 4. Topeka, Bopp (Quakenbush, Sheehan), 18:23.

Second period — 5. St. Louis, Crowe (Gellatly), 8:07; 6. St. Louis, Smith (Gettinger, Ganchar), 9:37.

Shots on goal — St. Louis 10-3-2 15. Topeka 10-11-9 — 30.

Goalies — St. Louis, Comunale. Topeka, Tirronen.

Attendance — 2,832

 

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