With the holiday break on the horizon, the Topeka RoadRunners figured they might as well leave it all out on the ice.
The end result was the most dominant victory of the season.
The RoadRunners set a season-high in goals scored, soaring into the break with a 9-1 victory over New Mexico Saturday night at Landon Arena.
"Everyone was looking forward to the break, and we figured since we get a week off that we'd do what we can tonight and work our butts off," RoadRunners defenseman Cory Ramsey said.
Ramsey, Ryan White and Zach Schrotenboer each scored two goals to help pave the way for the Runners to pick up their 11th victory over their last 13 games.
After hitting a rough patch early in the season, RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said he is feeling pretty good about his team right now.
"Our goal is always to be the most improved by Christmas and we've got to be close, that's for sure," Langer said. "A lot of guys' games are improving and as a team we're really coming together. We started off pretty shaky and as of late, we've really been on a roll, so it's perfect."
The game was already decided after the Runners (19-7-2) put together a monster first period in which they rang up five goals.
Ramsey got things started when he initiated the Teddy Bear Toss at 9:41 of the first period, giving the fans a chance to fill the ice with stuffed animals that will be donated to the Topeka Rescue Mission.
"That was awesome," Ramsey said. "It was funny because my billet mom told me I was going to get a goal tonight. I guess I got lucky to get the first one."
New Mexico answered quickly with a goal from Jimmy Peplinski, but the rest of the game belonged to the RoadRunners. Topeka regained the lead on Ryan White's power-play goal at 15:03. Ramsey and White then scored back-to-back goals before Mason Miller registered a goal with 45 seconds left in the period to give Topeka a commanding a 5-1 lead.
"Our energy level was really good right from the drop of the puck," Langer said. "We made some changes on the forecheck that allowed our guys to get going and it paid off."
In the second period, Chris Bond fired in a shot early before Zach Schrotenboer picked up his first goal as a RoadRunner at 8:58.
Justin Hussar scored a power-play goal at 6:45 of the third period and Schrotenboer notched his second goal pf the game at 12:21 to account for the final score.
White, Schrotenboer, Hussar, Jacob Poe and Chris Bond each contributed two assists on a night when 12 different RoadRunners registered points.
Topeka goalie Eric Rohrkemper stopped 13 of 14 shots for Topeka, while Marco Weiser absorbed all of the damage in the net for the Mustangs, surrendering nine goals on 35 shots.
The RoadRunners, who will return to action in two weeks when they host Amarillo for a pair of games, are now tied for second in the South Division standings, just a point behind first-place Texas.
New Mexico 1 0 0 — 1
Topeka 5 2 2 — 9
First period — 1. Topeka, Ramsey (Poe, Christie), 10:19; 2. New Mexico, Peplinski (Baldwin), 10:42; 3. Topeka, White (Hussar, Marx), 15:03; 4. Topeka, Ramsey (Davis), 16:01; 5. Topeka, White (Schrotenboer), 16:37; 6. Topeka, Miller (White, Hussar), 19:25.
Second period — 7. Topeka, Chris Bond (O'Leary), 4:58; 8. Topeka, Schrotenboer (Bond, White), 8:58.
Third period — 9. Topeka, Hussar (Poe, Schrotenboer), 6:45; 10. Topeka, Schrotenboer, (Bond, Vazquez), 12:21.
Shots on goal — New Mexico 4-5-4 — 13. Topeka 18-6-7 — 31.
Goalies — New Mexico, Weiser. Topeka, Rohrkemper.
Attendance — 2,699.
Stars of the game — First star: Schrotenboer. Second star: White. Third star: Ramsey.