(Photo: Troy Young)
WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Nick Farmer stretched his career-best point-streak to eight games, but it was not enough as the Wichita Falls Wildcats were upended, 3-2, by the Topeka RoadRunners at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on Saturday night.
Farmer scored one and assisted on another, giving him his fifth-straight multi-point games, while Kevin Charyszyn had the other Wichita Falls tally. Matt Koch, Nikita Litviak and Erich Jaeger chipped in on the attack with an assist apiece, while Austin Shaw made 25 saves on 28 shots faced in net.
The first period played out as evenly as possible, with both teams finding the net once and both goaltenders making numerous strong saves.
Topeka found twine first, and capitalized on the game’s first power-play opportunity to do so, as Daniel Brickley let go a big blast from the blue line that beat Shaw upstairs for a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats leveled the affair with about five minutes remaining in the first frame, doing so just after a power-play chance of their own had expired.
Jaeger kept the puck alive below the goal line, and jabbed it towards the front of the net for Farmer. With his stick tied up, Farmer kicked the disc along to Charyszyn unmarked at the back door, and Charyszyn cleaned up the rebound to tie the contest, 1-1, on his team-leading 19th goal of the year at 14:18 of the first.
The second period mirrored the first, with both teams trading a goal apiece to push the score to 2-2, but where Topeka scored early, the red-and-black left it late.
The RoadRunners took their second lead of the night in the opening stages of the frame, with Cam Strong potting one past Shaw from a centering feed from Carlos Fornaris to make it 2-1 at 3:10 of the middle period.
Wichita Falls pushed hard throughout the second for an equalizer, and eventually earned a reward for its efforts on a late power-play opportunity.
In the offensive zone, Litviak worked the puck from the right-wing circle to the middle of the point for Koch. The defenseman faked a pass, then sent a wrister on net that was kicked away by Matej Tomek, but the rebound went right to Farmer, who tucked it home to make it 2-2. The goal, coming at 18:59 of the second stanza, marked Farmer’s 14th of the season and seventh tally in his last eight games.
The third period unfolded at a frenetic pace, with the ‘Runners and ‘Cats trading rush after rush throughout long, uninterrupted passages of play.
It appeared the game might have been destined for overtime, but in the final three minutes of the contest, Mike Gornall finished a coast-to-coast rush through the five-hole of Shaw to give Topeka a 3-2 lead.
Wichita Falls pressed for an equalizer as time ticked away and had a handful of decent opportunities, most notably with Farmer having a jam attempt cleared off the line, but the tying goal did not materialize, and the RoadRunners skated away with the 3-2 win.
The Wildcats return to the ice when they host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at the KYC on Jan. 16 and 17 for “Jersey Off Our Back” weekend to benefit Children’s Miracle Network. While puck drop on Jan. 16 will be the customary 7:05 p.m., fans are reminded that the contest on Jan. 17 is scheduled to begin at 5:05 p.m. Fans that cannot make it to the arena can follow all the action on FASTHockey.com, or by tuning into an audio-only broadcast available on YouTube.com
Single-game tickets for the 2014-15 Wildcats season are on sale now at the Kay Yeager Coliseum box office. Stay updated on the latest team news and notes by connecting with the Wildcats on Facebook (WFWildcats), Twitter (@WFWildcats), Instagram (WFWildcats) and on YouTube (Wichita Falls Wildcats).
Topeka – Daniel Brickley (power play) (Jasen Fernsler, Mike Gornall) 9:19
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (Nick Farmer, Erich Jaeger) 14:18
Topeka – Cam Strong (Carlos Fornaris) 3:10
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (power play) (Matt Koch, Nikita Litviak) 18:59
Topeka – Mike Gornall (Sly Sutter) 17:26