A shot at a split was in store for the Lone Star Brahmas in the Kansas capital against the Topeka Roadrunners. After a tough 3 – 2 loss to the division leaders, Lone Star needed a strong performance to pull back within six points with three games in hand.
For the second night in a row, the Brahmas had a new defenseman skating for the first time. Tonight it was Storm Wahlrab on the ice. While he failed to crack the score sheet he had his named called several times throughout the game. Wahlrab who is 6’ 3” and 205 pound is from Laguna Niguel, CA. He spent last season and a half with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL. In 73 games played, Wahlrab had 10G – 14A and 89 penalty minutes.
The Brahmas dodged a bullet early in the first on the penalty kill. The Roadrunners hadDaniel Rzavsky set up at the bottom of the left wing circle and fed him a great cross ice pass, but TJ Black went post to post to make a huge save. Reigning NAHL Easton South Division Star of the Week Oskar Andren got them on the board at 5:24 of the first. Alexey Solovyev pulled the puck out from behind Black’s cage and sent a breakout pass to Sebastian Vidmar. Vidmar found Andren cutting from the far side. Andren took the pass, dangled around Jack Kelly in front and put it back against the grain for the goal. It took the Brahmas only 32 seconds to find the back of the net once again. Roman Uchyn sent the puck into the right wing corner where Tyler Irvinecontrolled it along the end boards. AJ Vanderbeck picked Irvine’s pocket and took it behind the net. Topeka netminder Drew Vogler was hugging the far post to prevent the wrap around, so Vanderbeck pushed it across the crease and inside the near post.
Uchyn was whistled for hooking at two minutes of the second putting Topeka on the power play once again. This time Mike Gornall got it past Black high glove side from the left wing circle at 3:52. Sly Sutter and Daniel Brickley registered the assists. Lone Star had their chances in the second as well. Moments after the Gornall goal, Solovyev teed one up from the point that had Vogler dead to rights glove side, but it rang off the post. At 8:12 Hogan Davidson looked to have poked a Vanderbeck rebound under Vogler with the goal light coming on, but a quick whistle denied washed it out.
The Brahmas’ penalty kill unit came up big in the third when Liam Stirtzinger was tagged with a checking from behind double minor at 12:23. The Roadrunners managed only three shots on goal with four minutes of man advantage. Topeka gambled a little early pulling Vogler at 18:30 for the extra attacker. As they tried to set up in the offensive zone, Vidmar stepped in front of a Shawn Brennan crossing pass. Vidmar spun, carried the puck to the middle and fired one from on top of the Roadrunner logo into the empty net.
Topeka outshot the Brahmas 28 – 19 on the night and were 1 – 6 on the power play while Lone Star was 0 – 5. Blocked shots have been a signature of the Lone Star defense and it was on display from the opening faceoff with Johan Steen leading the way giving up the body multiple times including a diving stop in the third to thwart a two on one breakaway.