(Photo: Troy Young)
TOPEKA, Kan. – Ben Kucera scored a power-play goal and David Zevnik made 27 saves, but the Wichita Falls Wildcats (21-12-3) could not overcome the Topeka Roadrunners, dropping a 2-1 contest at Landon Arena on Saturday.
Colin Staub and Sam Piazza each recorded an assist, their 10th and 15th helpers of the season, respectively.
For the second night in a row, the Roadrunners opened the scoring. Peter Halash accepted a pass in transition and skated in on Zevnik, before sneaking a shot under the right pad at the 1:41 mark of the frame.
The Wildcats responded soon after though, cashing in on one of their four first period power play opportunities. Piazza’s shot from the right-wing circle hit Staub in front. Staub then turned and put a shot on net that was partially saved, but Kucera was there to put the rebound home for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Play opened up in the second period, as both teams created a number of chances, but both Zevnik and PJ Bridges turned aside all rubber sent their way, although the Wildcats were fortunate not to concede a goal when Jake Kamrass hit the post from in close.
Topeka started the third period brightly, creating a few early chances and eventually broke the deadlock at the 6:29 mark of the period. An extended spell on the offensive zone led to Philip Middleton releasing a shot from the point that snuck through the body of a screened Zevnik to make it 2-1.
Wichita Falls battled hard to tie the contest, but could not generate any high-quality scoring chances against the Roadrunners defense, as the contest ended 2-1.
The Wildcats are next in action on Jan. 17 when they host the Amarillo Bulls at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.; video streaming is available on FASTHockey.com, with an audio-only broadcast accessible via UStream.com.
Topeka – Peter Halash (Jake Kamrass) 1:41
Wichita Falls – Ben Kucera (power play) (Colin Staub, Sam Piazza) 8:55
Topeka – Philip Middleton (Sly Sutter, Jasen Fernsler) 6:29