Big Comeback

When Tyler Funk got rocked by Topeka Roadrunners defenseman Shawn Brennan with a big open ice hit with less than 30 seconds left in a 2-2 game on Saturday, he probably wasn’t thinking he’d be able to exact revenge so quickly.

But Funk was able to tap in a loose puck on a fly-by with just three seconds on the clock, and the Springfield Jr. Blues capped a big comeback with a 3-2 win to salvage a two-game series in Kansas last weekend.

The Blues went down 2-0 after Daniel Brickley let one rip from up top for Topeka in the first period. A great pass from Carlos Fornaris at the point to Daniel Rzavsky to the left of Springfield goalie Dryden McKay made it 2-0 Runners less than a minute into the second.

It was the sixth unanswered goal Topeka scored against Springfield this season, but the Jr. Blues had a comeback in mind. It started with a Brady Tomlak deflection off a Lester Lancaster shot from between the line and the top of the right circle at the 8:45 mark of the third period.

Lancaster was denied a few minutes later by a flashy glove save from Topeka goalie Matej Tomek. Lancaster’s shot came from the high slot. It was the same area from which he’d later contribute to the game-tying goal.

That goal came with just 3 minutes and 29 seconds left in the contest. Lancaster took a loose puck in the neutral zone, streaked down the left wing, cut to the middle in the Topeka zone and threw it in front.

The puck went off Tomlak. It was the third consecutive Lancaster-to-Tomlak connection for the Blues, going back to last Thursday’s home game against Keystone. All three goals were very similar in nature.

Tomlak was a factor in the game-winning goal, as with just seconds left on the clock, he cut to the side of the net from the left wing. The puck sat there, and Tomek was unable to freeze it as Funk cruised by and got just enough wood on the disc to send it into the net.

The referee and linesmen conferred for a few minutes to make sure the goal counted, as the buzzer had sounded. But eventually the teams faced off at center when three seconds were put back on the clock.

The Jr. Blues are now 3-1 against Topeka. The loss was a 4-0 decision to open up the series at the Expo Center in Topeka on Friday. Niko Dellamaggorie made 34 saves in the loss. Springfield killed of five power plays but the Jr. Blues were unable to score on four of their own.

With the 2-1 overtime loss to Keystone fresh in their minds, the Jr. Blues head to Connellsville, PA for a Saturday-Sunday pair of games. Puck drops are at 6:30 and noon for those two games.


Jim McCabe

Jr. Blues Beat Writer