Tomahawks Game Preview: September 19, 2013

Game Preview

Topeka RoadRunners vs. Johnstown Tomahawks

September 19, 2013

5:30 p.m. (EST)

Schwans Super Rink, Blaine, MN

By Ed Sheets

 

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP

After falling to the Amarillo Bulls 6-3 last night, the Tomahawks look to rebound this evening against the Topeka Roadrunners. This will be the first meeting between the Tomahawks and RoadRunners, and the only meeting between these two teams during the regular season.

THE TOMAHAWKS

Last night, the Tomahawks got two goals from Matt Meier and a two assists from Joe Drabin and Mitch Hall. Unfortunately, Amarillo scored four unanswered goals to defeat Johnstown 6-3.

Both the Tomahawks and Bulls had plenty of opportunities on the power play. Amarillo was able to score on five of their seven power-play opportunities, while Johnstown scored once in eleven opportunities.

The Bulls opened up the scoring 5:36 into the first period when Tyler Gernhoffer scored from the left side of Colin DeAugustine. Jordan Watt got the Tomahawks on the board later in the period, scoring a power-play goal at 10:20. Matthew Meier made it a 2-1 game with his goal at 11:46, before Brendan Vetter tied the game with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.

The score would remain tied 2-2 until Meier scored his second goal of the game at 9:30 of the second period. Amarillo goaltender Paul Berrafato was pulled after giving up this third goal and replaced by Collin Delia. After a big save by DeAugustine, a scrum broke out behind the net. As a result, the Tomahawks went on the penalty kill and Amarillo took advantage as Gattelaro scored at 16:24. They would retake the lead just over a minute later as Matt Sieckhaus scored at 17:29. Amarillo added third period goals from Ammirato and Mike Davis to set the final score.

Colin DeAugustine allowed 6 goals on 25 shots in his first start of the season. Colin Delia replaced starting goaltender Berrafato and picked up the win.

Following this evening’s game, the Tomahawks will face off against the Aberdeen Wings tomorrow morning at 11:30 a.m. (EST). They will close out their showcase schedule on Saturday against the Bismarck Bobcats.

THE ROADRUNNERS

The Roadrunners come into this evening’s contest with a record of 3-1-0. They opened up the season with a pair of wins over the Corpus Christi Ice Rays, before defeating Odessa 6-0 on Monday night.

Topeka opened their showcase schedule yesterday, falling 5-2 to the Wenatchee Wild. The Wild got on the board first on a Nicklas Balboa goal at 8:17 of the first period. The RoadRunners Jerad Tafoya tied the game at 11:57 of the second period, before James Mathias regained the lead for the Wild with less than three minutes remaining in the second period. Wenatchee scored three more goals in the third period to make it a 5-1 game, before Topeka’s Michal Uhrik set the final with his goal at 12:17.

The RoadRunners finished last season with a record of 39-14-7, which earned them second place in the NAHL south division. They were swept 3-0 in the South division semi-finals by Texas, losing the first two games 2-1 and the third game 8-1. The team is looking to replace several key offensive players, including their top four scorers, who combined to score 85 goals and 112 assists last season. Tyler Poulsen, who had 32 points (13-19-32) last season, leads the team with five points (2-3-5) in four games. Between the pipes, Drew Vogler and former Jamestown Ironman Blake Wojtala are looking to replace Spencer Viele, who was top five in the league last year in wins (28) and goals against average (2.19).

Following this evening’s game Topeka will take on the Soo Eagles tomorrow, before finishing the showcase against Aberdeen on Saturday.

KEY STATS

  • Last season, Topeka was third in the league with 283 power-play opportunities, trailing only Minot (292) and Johnstown (305).
  •  Last season, the Tomahawks defeated Kenai River 6-5 in the second game of the showcase, their first win in team history.
  • Topeka had the best road record in the league last season, going 23-5-2.
  • Johnstown went 2-1 in Thursday games last season, defeating Kenai River (6-5 SO) and Port Huron (3-2) in the regular season and falling to Port Huron 3-0 in game one of the North Division play-in round.
  • The North Division went 2-3-1 on the first day of the NAHL Showcase.