Sunday, 01.01.2017 / 4:59 pm CT
By Alex von Keudell / Photo: Caroline Rea
The Wildcats ended their month-long stretch of road games with a 6-2 victory to sweep the Topeka RoadRunners on New Year’s Day.
What was expected to be a high-scoring game did not yield any first period goals. The early 2 pm start had some players appearing hesitant in the opening 20 minutes.
With Snowden injured, Mike Rockwell started the game for the RoadRunners and turned aside all 15 first period shots he faced. At the other end, Evan Moyse was a perfect 7-for-7 in the Wildcats net.
In the middle period, Jonathan Bendorf and Ricky Carballo took matters into their own hands. Six minutes and 23 seconds into period two, Carballo motored down the right side and set up Bendorf for a point-blank shot from between the circles. The future RPI Engineer Bendorf tucked a shot inside the left post to open the scoring for the Cats.
Three minutes later, Topeka would respond. Kyle Klatt received a nice bank pass along the left half boards and bounced a shot off Moyse’s pad. While the Wildcats searched for the puck following the rebound, Peyton Frantti managed to locate it and spin it between Moyse’s legs to tie the game.
Later on in the period, Ilya Skvortsov was tripped in his own zone, leading to just the Wildcats’ second power play of the game. Carballo slipped the puck through his opponent’s skates right off an offensive zone faceoff, and fed Bendorf a cross-crease pass to give the young gun his second goal of the period.
The Wildcats power play did not stop there. Karim Del Ponte ripped a wrist shot through a screen from the right circle to beat Rockwell on his blocker side. The Swiss defenseman earned his first goal as a Wildcat with his parents in attendance all the way from Switzerland. The Cats entered the second intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Just a minute into the third period, Topeka Captain Marshall Bowery snapped a shot from the right corner which found its way through Moyse’s five-hole to cut the Runners’ deficit to one. However’ that is as close as they’d come.
Limiting Topeka’s chances for the remainder of the game and keeping their shots to the perimeter, the Wildcats took over the game following Bowery’s goal. Roman Kinal snapped a long wrist shot through a screen set by Bendorf to give the Cats a 4-2 insurance lead. Carballo and Ryan Burnett would add late goals following several acts of Topeka frustration. The Wildcats would cruise to a 6-2 victory to close their season series against the RoadRunners.
Moyse had a relatively light game, facing only 18 shots and stopping 16 of them. Rockwell, meanwhile, denied 35 of a possible 41. The Wildcats return to Kay Yeager Coliseum for the first time in over a month on January 6th, 2017 to host the Shreveport Mudbugs. Puck drops at 7:05 pm CT.