By Joey Battaino, Odessa Jackalopes
Topeka RoadRunners 4 @ Odessa Jackalopes 1 - In the only Thursday night home game of the season and the only game in the NAHL on Thursday, the Odessa Jackalopes welcomed the Topeka RoadRunners to town for the first of three meetings this weekend. The Jacks sent Yoshi Kuroiwa to tend the net while Topeka countered with Merrimack College commit Drew Vogler.
The Jacks had good pressure deep in the Topeka zone for the first three minutes of the game, forcing Vogler to make two good stops. When Topeka finally got the puck out of the zone, it was former Jackalope Tyler Poulsen who scored the game’s first goal on Topeka’s first shot. Poulsen’s team leading sixth goal of the year came at 3:54 of the first period.
Topeka would add to their lead at 6:23 on a partial breakaway goal for Brandon Vuic. Vuic blocked a shot in the Jacks zone and beat Chris Taff to the loose puck. His backhand shot beat Kuroiwa over the glove and ‘Runners led 2-0.
Topeka made it 3-0 on Jasen Fernsler’s first goal of the season at 12:54 after his shot from the left wing beat Kuroiwa on the short-side.
The ‘Runners would add another at 13:25 when Tyler Groat finished off a two-on-one with Peter Halash. Yoshi Kuroiwa was pulled in favor of Eric Hancock at that point in the hockey game. The Jacks got on the board late in the first on a beautiful give and go play between Alex Alger and Trace Jablin. Jablin finished the play off with a backhand that beat Drew Vogler on the blocker side and the Jacks trailed 4-1 after one period.
The teams were played to a stalemate from that point on. The Jacks had seven opportunities with the man advantage but could not capitalize on any of them. Goaltender Eric Hancock made 23 saves in his relief appearance, but the Jacks could not mount any offense for him in a 4-1 defeat to the Topeka RoadRunners.
The same two teams will battle this Friday and Saturday night at the Ector County Coliseum.