Corey Jendras scored a pair of second-period goals and assisted on another in the third as the Topeka Roadrunners overcame a one-goal deficit to beat visiting Kenai River, 5-1, on Wednesday in front of 1,059 fans at the Kansas ExpoCentre.
In the first-ever meeting between the South Division foes, Soldotna's Garrett Bossert recorded a short-handed tally in staking the Brown Bears to a 1-0 lead with 5:48 to play in the opening period. The lead was short-lived, though, as Jendras evened the score just 2:37 into the second and added his second tally just more than eight minutes later.
Topeka's Reed Seckel, Jordan George and Martin Sundstedt all scored in the third two of them shorthanded and the other on a power play as the third-place Roadrunners (18-8-6) inched closer to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, who were off on Wednesday and currently occupy the South's second playoff spot with 46 points.
Kenai River, meanwhile, dropped to 8-22-6, the worst record in the North American Hockey League, after losing its fifth straight game. Topeka goaltender Bryce Merriam stopped 11-of-12 shots while Brown Bears' goalie Steven Madej denied 27-of-32.
The two teams meet again on Friday and Saturday.
ROADRUNNERS 5, BROWN BEARS 1
Kenai River 1 0 0 1
Topeka 0 2 3 5
First period 1. Kenai River, Bossert (McDonald, Madej), 14:12 (sh). Penalties Kenai River 3 for 6:00.
Second period 2. Topeka, Jendras (Kamrass, Seckel), 2:37; 3. Topeka, Jendras (Kamrass, Seckel), 10:39. Penalties Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Topeka 3 for 6:00.
Third period 4. Topeka, Seckel (unassisted), 1:45 (sh); 5. Topeka, George (Jendras, Swank), 11:33 (pp); 6. Topeka, Sundstedt (Trousdale), 13:35 (sh). Penalties Kenai River 4 for 11:00; Topeka 6 for 15:00.
Shots on goal Kenai River 6-5-1 12; Topeka 14-8-10 32.
Goalies Kenai River, Madej (32 shots-27 saves); Topeka, Merriam (12 shots-11 saves).
Power plays Kenai River 0 for 5; Topeka 1 for 6.
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