After splitting the first two games of the South Division semifinals against Wichita Falls, the Topeka RoadRunners aren’t planning on making any drastic changes for Game 3.
In fact, the Runners plan on doing many of the same things they did last weekend, hoping to get a few more goals to show for it this time around.
“I just think we got to stick to the same game plan,” RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said. “We possessed the puck quite a bit and did a lot of good things. We out-chanced them; we just have to work a little bit harder in the tough areas to bury those shots.”
The RoadRunners, who will play the third game of the series at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Wichita Falls, outshot the Wildcats 84-53 in the first two games despite being unable to take both games. Topeka rolled to a dominating 5-1 win in Game 1, but Wichita Falls bounced back the following night to pick up a hard-fought 1-0 overtime victory behind 39 saves from Tyler Green.
RoadRunners’ forward Jordan Davis said the RoadRunners weren’t overly discouraged by the overtime loss.
“I thought we played both games really well, we just couldn’t find the back of the net Sunday night,” he said. “This weekend we’re going to go to their rink looking for two wins.”
The RoadRunners will be looking to cash in on a few more power-play opportunities after going 1 for 14 on the man advantage in the first two games.
Langer said the Runners need to have more of a sense of urgency while on the power play.
“When you get your opportunity to be out there on the power play, you got to up your game,” he said. “You look at the numbers, a good power play is about 19 percent and a good penalty kill is close to 90. Odds say that penalty kill is going to win, so you got to work hard. It’s a decision game. If you make the right decision, it only takes one to score a goal.”
Wichita Falls’ win last Sunday halted the Wildcats’ 16-game losing streak to the RoadRunners. And though the Runners don’t appear to be rattled by Sunday’s loss, Langer knows his team will be dealing with a confident group of Wildcats this weekend.
“Their confidence is certainly going to be elevated after stealing that game and pushing it onto their ice surface,” Langer said. “We’re going to have to stick to what we’re good at, and we’re going to have to stay disciplined and believe that we are the better team. If we do the right things, we should come out on top.”
Nate Milam scored two goals in the first game of the series while Davey Middleton, Kyle Sharkey and Kyle Buffardi each had one apiece for the Runners. Richard Young and Mikhail Sentyurin scored the Wildcats’ only goals of the series.
Green accumulated 79 saves against 84 shots last weekend, while both RoadRunners’ goalies were also solid. Rasmus Tirronen stopped 25 of 26 shots in the series’ opener before Eric Rohrkemper turned aside 26 of 27 attempts in the second game.
Game 4 will be at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, while Game 5 (if necessary) will be Monday night in Topeka.
All RoadRunners’ games can be heard online on Country Legends’ website, www.ktpk1069.com.