Capitals in Cincy Wrap Up
The Capitals hopped a bus again this past weekend to do battle with the Central Division Cincinnati Swords. The road hasn’t been as kind to the Caps as the friendly confines of Landon Arena (4-0 at home, 3-4-1 away), but with each series this team is coming together and beginning to establish an identity for itself. As the rest of the NA3HL is finding out, the Topeka Capitals are no easy out.
It began last Friday in Ohio where the puck dropped on the first of three games between the Caps and Swords. Ian Rolfsen drew first blood for Cincy, beating Jude Hull for a netter at 16:06 of the first (assisted by Jessie Fracassi and Niko Jansen). The one-goal lead became two in the second when Ryan Sete dropped in a short hander (assisted by Emil Sundstrom and Joe Sheppard at 12:14) that placed the Swords in the driver’s seat 2-0 heading into the third. It was in the final frame that Georgy Ostapchuk found the puck on a power play and cut the lead in half (assisted by Yu Hikosaka and Nick Manney at 2:56). The Caps would go on to assault Sheppard with 16 shots-on-goal in the third but it was not to be as Topeka fell 2-1 in the series opener.
Game two got bad in a hurry for the Caps as Cincy leaped to a 4-1 lead in the first period. Ryan Sete had two goals including the game’s first while Ryan Marshall and Andrew Bond each scored to round out the offensive explosion. The lone bright spot for the Caps was a goal by Kole Hudson (assisted by Hardijis Kupaks at 17:19) that kept the period for being a total wash. Sete completed his hat trick in the second with an unassisted goal at 3:54, but Nick Manney helped Topeka keep pace with a score at 8:31 (assisted by Yu Hikosaka and Griffen Leach) sending the game 5-2 into the third. Kupaks found the back of the net early in the third (assisted by Leach and Manney) but it would not be enough as the Swords held on for a 5-3 win.
Sunday morning saw the Caps spring back with new life. Kole Hudson struck first with a first period goal (assisted by Yu Hikosaka and Georgy Ostapchuk at 16:52), staking Topeka to their first lead at the end of any period over the weekend. Kupaks made it 2-0 in the second (assisted by Ostapchuk and Hudson) and Jude Hull fended off a penalty shot to keep the lead intact heading into the third. The Swords tried to get back in it at 3:52 with Marshall’s netter but Griffen Leach stole back the thunder, sneaking in a short hander at 9:46 (assisted by Nick Rizzo) that sealed the deal. All told, the Caps finished the trip 1-2 with a win in game three.
The boys make a short pit stop at home this week before striking out towards Romeoville, IL for the NA3HL showcase. They will face Wisconsin on Friday at 4pm, Battle Creek on Saturday at 1pm, Michigan on Sunday at 4pm, and Granite City on Monday morning at 8:25. The team will return to Landon Arena on Nov.30 and Dec. 1 for Family Weekend against division foe Dallas. For more information on tickets, call 785-286-PUCK or visit www.topekacapitals.com