Runners to play in Showcase

After a busy and productive preseason, Topeka RoadRunners coach Scott Langer is confident that his squad is ready to open the regular season.


Langer and the RoadRunners will find out for sure Wednesday night when they take on the Fresno Monsters at 8:15 p.m. in Blaine, Minn., for their first game of the North American Hockey League Showcase tournament.

The Runners just finished a four-game preseason slate last week after splitting two games in Amarillo. Topeka dropped the first game 5-4 before winning the second 3-2 on the strength of Brian Christie’s game-winning, short-handed goal with 10.6 seconds left.

“We’ve seen a good progression since we played Central Oklahoma (Sept. 3-4),” Langer said. “We played a real good first game against Amarillo, we just couldn’t score. I think we learned how to respond in night two and we had a great effort. And this week’s been pretty solid practice-wise.”

RoadRunners forward Robbie Davis, who played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League last season, said the Runners are anxious to get the season started.

“We’ve been doing a lot of training and I think we’re definitely prepared and ready to go,” Davis said. “We’re ready to hit the ice running.”

The Runners will take on the Port Huron Fighting Falcons on Thursday, the Chicago Hitmen on Friday and the Jamestown Ironmen on Saturday. All RoadRunners’ games can be heard online on Country Legends’ website,

Langer said the Runners won’t have much familiarity with their opponents.

“The thing about these first games is you don’t get to pre-scout them,” Langer said. “The only ones we’ve been able to watch are Chicago and Jamestown on video, but I’m sure they’ll be quite changed by then. We’re just going to play our game. I think it’s about us executing our game plan no matter what and making the in-game adjustments - I think our guys are smart enough to do that.

“The best thing about this tournament is they count. We have to be sharp. We have to be prepared. Everything’s got to come together in these next few days.”

Three goalies remain on the roster - three-year veteran Eric Rohrkemper, Josh Hillegas and Brandon Reagan.

“All three guys have done a great job,” Langer said. “Eric played a great game the first night (in Amarillo), and we kind of sold him out with four breakaways. And then Hillegas came in the second night and was just as good. With Reagan, we’ve yet to really give him some minutes, but he’s deserving of some minutes, the way he’s been practicing.

“We’re going to let those guys figure it out. I’m not going to promise that we’ll be rotating by any means, I’m not going to promise that we won’t.”

The Runners’ home opener will be Oct. 7 against the Wichita Falls Wildcats.



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