WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Johnathan Lazarus and Nick Farmer both registered three-point performances as the Wichita Falls Wildcats turned over the Topeka RoadRunners, 7-4, at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on Friday night.
Lazarus scored twice and added an assist to earn the first three-point night of his junior career, while Farmer tallied a goal and two assists, marking his third three-point night in the last four games.
Colin Staub, Alex Falconer and Kevin Charyszyn also had multiple points on the night, as all three notched a goal and an assist, with Matt Koch chipping in a pair of assists. Jake Townsend found twine as well for Wichita Falls, and Cam Knight, Konstantin Chernyuk and Austin Albrecht all added assists for the Wildcats in the triumph. Austin Shaw made 27 saves in net to earn his 14th win of the season.
The first period played out evenly, but it was the ‘Cats who opened the scoring, capitalizing on a scrum for the puck to do so.
With players from both teams chopping at the loose disc, the puck landed on the stick of Townsend. The defenseman unleashed a quick wrist shot that caught Matej Tomek flat-footed and nestled into the top corner, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 lead on Townsend’s sixth goal of the season.
Topeka tied the contest soon after though, as Carlos Fornaris tipped home Shawn Brennan’s shot from the point to level the score, 1-1, at the 10:50 mark of the frame.
The red-and-black almost regained their edge immediately after when Lazarus skated into the offensive zone at the right-wing wall with space to operate, but the first-year skater rang his wrist-shot off the far post.
The RoadRunners twice took a one-goal lead in the second period, but each time the ‘Cats were able to cancel out the tallies almost immediately.
After play resumed following a Daniel Rzavsky power play goal for the ‘Runners to give them a 2-1 lead, Lazarus and Staub started a transition rush. Albrecht took a pass from Lazarus, and released a shot that Tomek was able to fight off, but the rebound sat invitingly on the goal line for Staub to jab home to level the score on his 13th of the season.
Seconds later, Rzavsky restored the one-goal edge for Topeka with a sneaky wrist-shot that barely beat Austin Shaw upstairs, but once more, Wichita Falls registered a rapid response with three unanswered goals in the last three minutes of the period.
First, a forceful forecheck by Farmer resulted in a turnover near the net, allowing him to feed in front where Charyszyn was waiting unmarked. Charyszyn, having missed from in close earlier in the frame, made no mistake this time, slamming the puck past Tomek for his team-leading 18th of the year.
The ‘Cats claimed the lead just 16 seconds later, as Farmer raced down the right-wing wall and unleashed a quick shot in stride that handcuffed Tomek, ticking off his glove and in to make the score 4-3, Wichita Falls.
Then, with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second, Falconer stretched the lead to 5-3 after some strong work along the left-wing wall sprung the puck loose. With a screen in front, Falconer let a shot fly that found the top corner for his second in as many games since returning from injury, and his eighth of the campaign.
Drew Vogler relieved Tomek to start the third period, but the results were the same as the red-and-black used a pair of tallies by Lazarus to pad their lead.
The first came at 6:46 of the period after Staub rushed into the zone, dipped around a defenseman, and fed Lazarus in the middle, where the Syosset, NY-native smashed his shot into the roof of the net to give the Wildcats a 6-3 lead.
Mike Gornall answered back 20 seconds later but Lazarus restored the three-goal lead as time wound down in the contest.
After Koch and Falconer combined to chip the puck clear, Lazarus stepped onto it and skated into the zone. Lazarus toe-dragged around the backchecking Topeka defenseman, stepped to the middle, faked a forehand shot, and with Volger prone, he roofed a backhander top-shelf for his first-career multi-goal outing.
Topeka tried in vain to shrink the deficit, but shot after shot went begging thanks to the efforts of Shaw in net, as Wichita Falls claimed the 7-4 win.
The Wildcats and RoadRunners conclude their two-game set on Saturday at the KYC, with puck drop slated for 7:05 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).
NOTES: The Wildcats have now won 11 games in a row at the KYC, dating back to an 8-5 win over Odessa on Oct. 17…Lazarus’s three-point game is the first of his career; he has now posted multiple points in back-to-back games, also a first…Jake Townsend’s goal in the first period stretched his point-streak to four games (4-2-6 in that span)…Nick Farmer pushed his point-streak to a career-best seven games in the win; he has a 6-8-14 line in that span…Farmer has also posted four-straight multi-point games, and has registered three points in three of his last four outings.
Wichita Falls – Jake Townsend (Tommy Apap) 6:36
Topeka – Carlos Fornaris (Shawn Brennan, Jasen Fernsler) 10:50
Topeka – Daniel Rzavsky (power play) (Carlos Fornaris) 14:07
Wichita Falls – Colin Staub (Austin Albrecht, Jonathan Lazarus) 14:39
Topeka – Daniel Rzavsky (Tyler Irvine, Tyler Hayes) 15:14
Wichita Falls – Kevin Charyszyn (Nick Farmer) 17:15
Wichita Falls – Nick Farmer (Matt Koch, Cam Knight) 17:31
Wichita Falls – Alex Falconer (Nick Farmer, Kevin Charyszyn) 19:33
Wichita Falls – Jonathan Lazarus (Colin Staub, Konstantin Chernyuk) 6:46
Topeka – Mike Gornall (Tyler Irvine, Daniel Rzavsky) 7:06
Wichita Falls – Jonathan Lazarus (Matt Koch, Alex Falconer) 13:23