While everyone outside Landon Arena was riding out a severe storm, Wichita Falls goalie Tyler Green spent Sunday night weathering the storm the Topeka RoadRunners presented.
Despite several close calls, Green never cracked in Game 2 of the South Division semifinals, shutting down the Runners continually until the Wildcats used an overtime goal to down the RoadRunners 1-0 and even the series at a game apiece.
With Topeka goalie Eric Rohrkemper also turning in a solid outing, the Wildcats finally broke through 2:19 into the overtime period when Richard Young fired in a one-timer after the Wildcats won a face-off in the RoadRunners’ zone.
Green turned aside all 39 shots he faced to help the Wildcats snap a 16-game losing streak against the RoadRunners.
“We did a lot of good things but ran into a very hot goalie, and they kept us outside to where we couldn’t get to some of those rebounds that we normally get to,” RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said. “We played a decent game. It came down to a face-off draw in the defensive end, we lost it clean and it ended up in the back of the net.”
The Runners, who went 0-for-8 on the power play, outshot Wichita Falls 37-29 and saw three shots hit the goal posts.
Langer said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort.
“I didn’t have any problem with their energy level,” Langer said. “And for the most part, we executed.
“It’s just a matter of finishing. We had some opportunities lying on the doorstep that we didn’t put home. You’ve just got to be a little bit hungrier in the playoffs.”
Topeka came out firing, putting up 17 shots on net in the first period. Wichita Falls then appeared to be gaining some momentum early in the second period before high winds in the area caused a brief power outage in the arena with 15:26 left in the period.
After about a 20-minute delay, the goalies’ duel continued and the game remained scoreless at the second intermission.
Nate Milam nearly broke the tie with 4:32 left in regulation on a shot that bounced off the top of the crossbar. The Runners then successfully killed off a penalty with less than a minute left to send the game to overtime. However, Topeka didn’t get a shot on goal in the extra session before Young’s tally.
Rohrkemper turned aside of 26 of 27 shots to keep Topeka in the game.
“Eric played outstanding. He gave us a chance to win the game, we just didn’t give him any offense,” Langer said.
The series will resume at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Wichita Falls. The Wildcats will also host the fourth game Saturday night in Wichita Falls, while Game 5 (if necessary) will be April 11 in Landon Arena.
Wichita Falls 0 0 0 1 -- 1
Topeka 0 0 0 0 -- 0
First period — No scoring.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — No scoring.
Overtime — 1. Wichita Falls, Young (Chapman), 2:19.
Shots on goal — Wichita Falls 8-9-7-3 -- 27. Topeka 17-11-11-0 -- 39
Goalies — Wichita Falls, Green. Topeka, Rohrkemper.
Attendance — 1,816.
Stars of the game — First star: Green. Second star: Young. Third star: Rohrkemper.