After getting off to a rocky start by surrendering two goals in the first period, it looked like Topeka RoadRunners' goalie Eric Rohrkemper might be in store for a long night.
Instead, Rohrkemper ended up having a night to remember, lifting the RoadRunners to a thrilling 3-2 shootout victory Saturday night at Landon Arena.
Rohrkemper turned aside all four shots he faced in the shootout and also stopped a penalty shot late in regulation to help the RoadRunners split the weekend series with Amarillo.
"It felt amazing," Rohrkemper said. "That team's been a thorn in our side all season long, so just to get a win in that fashion was unbelievable."
Bob Marx and Brian Christie each scored goals in the shootout.
The win avenged an earlier 5-4 shootout loss to Amarillo, a game in which Rohrkemper was in net.
"I really wanted to get this one," Rohrkemper said. "We do shootouts every Friday in practice, so I'm used to them."
RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said he hopes Rohrkemper's performance will be a confidence boost.
"He's got to ride that," Langer said. "He's been waiting for his chance to get in there and be the guy, and he's got to ride the confidence."
Amarillo scored first at 7:21 when Brooks Behling fired into a wide-open net. Kyle Sharkey scored off a rebound at the 16:22 mark to even the score, but Behling notched his second goal 1:21 later to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Topeka (19-8-2) tied the score again late in the second period when Christie tapped in a shot at 18:56. Each team then buckled down defensively in the third period and overtime to send the game to a shootout.
"We haven't been all that great in shootouts, so it was certainly nice to see the efforts of Eric Rohrkemper and those guys that got him support by putting it in the net," Langer said. "I thought after the first period, our game was pretty good. We didn't give them a lot of chances and capitalized on some of their mistakes. It was a good result for us."
The action was delayed briefly for a second straight night when the lights in the arena went out during the second intermission.
Topeka was once again without team captain Michael Hill, who was ejected in the first period of Friday's game after committing a cross-checking major penalty.
The RoadRunners now will embark on a five-game road swing starting Thursday at Corpus Christi.
Amarillo 2 0 0 0 0 — 2
Topeka 1 1 0 0 1 — 3
First period — 1. Amarillo, Behling (Johnson), 7:21; 2. Topeka, Sharkey (Dupell, Davis), 16:22; 3. Amarillo, Behling (Johnson, Sarcona), 17:43.
Second period — 4. Topeka, Christie (Schrotenboer, Hussar), 18:36.
Third period — No scoring.
Overtime — No scoring.
Shootout — Amarillo: No scoring. Topeka: Marx and Christie.
Shots on goal — Amarillo 12-7-8. Topeka 11-5-12
Goalies — Amarillo, Bolton. Topeka, Rohrkemper.
Attendance — 3,148.