Wildcats pick up early week sweep of RoadRunners
Wichita Falls Wildcats 4 @ Topeka RoadRunners 1 - Sam Piazza scored a hat trick and Chase Munroe made 29 saves on 30 shots, as the Wichita Falls Wildcats completed the two-game sweep of the Topeka Roadrunners with a 4-1 win at Landon Arena on Tuesday night. Kyle Bauman also scored and added an assist for Wichita Falls.
The Wildcats opened the contest on the back foot, as Topeka outshot them 6-1 in the early going, but Wichita Falls would gain control of the period as the frame ticked along. The Wildcats wound up outshooting Topeka 18-8 in the stanza, and made that pressure pay with a late power-play goal. Piazza made a nice play at the blue line to step inside a Roadrunner, skated into the faceoff circle, and threw a shot at PJ Bridges. The shot was blocked, but Piazza was there to pop the rebound home out of a netmouth scrum to make it 1-0 at 18:16 of the first.
Wichita Falls continued to apply pressure in the second period, and doubled its advantage less than four minutes into the frame. Van Arkel forced a turnover on the backcheck, which allowed Bauman to grab the puck at the offensive blue line. Bauman skated in along the right-wing wall, cut to the middle and unleashed a wrister into the top corner to make it 2-0. Piazza then took over the game, scoring twice in the last four minutes of the frame to make it 4-0. First, he finished off a four-on-two rush for the Wildcats, tucking a loose disc inside the post after Bridges could not handle a rebound at 16:26 of the second. Minutes later, Piazza completed his hat trick. After Josh Haverstrom forced the puck to the front of the net, Piazza skated onto the loose puck and, with time winding down, he one-timed it towards the cage. His effort beat Bridges right as time expired, but the goal stood to make it 4-0 Wichita Falls.
Topeka picked up their lone goal late in the third period, as Ryan Polin spoiled Munroe’s shutout bid, but Wichita Falls saw the contest out for a 4-1 win.