Final spot in Robertson Cup Championship on the line Monday
May 9, 2016
It has all come down to this… Game 5 of the Central Division Finals on Monday night to determine the fourth and final team that will play in the 2016 NAHL Robertson Cup Championship, which begins Thursday, May 12th in Edina, MN.
Over the weekend, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs won the Midwest Division playoff title with a 5-2 win in Game 5 over the defending champion Minnesota Wilderness. The win ensures that there will be a new champion crowned this season. Fairbanks will be the #1 seed at the Robertson Cup and will face either the Aston Rebels (if Bismarck wins Game 5) or the Austin Bruins (if the Bruins win Game 5). The Ice Dogs won the Robertson Cup in 2011 and again in 2014.
The Aston Rebels also punched their ticket on Friday night with a 9-2 win in Game 3 over the Johnstown Tomahawks, sweeping their way to the East Division playoff title. The Rebels will be either the #3 seed (if Austin wins Game 5) or the #4 seed (if Bismarck wins Game 5). This will be the Rebels first appearance in the Robertson Cup Championship.
The Wichita Falls Wildcats will be the #2 seed at the event as they clinched the South Division playoff title a week ago with the sweep of the Topeka RoadRunners. It will be the Wildcats first appearance at the Robertson Cup. The Wildcats will face either Bismarck (if Bismarck wins Game 5) or Aston (if Austin wins Game 5) in the Semi-Finals beginning Thursday.
The Central Division will take center stage on Monday night with Game 5 in Bismarck. The game is schedule to face-off at 7:15pm and can be viewed live on FASTHockey
Having seen their 2-0 series lead slip away at Riverside Arena, the Bobcats now have one last chance to close out the two-time defending division champs. Austin is looking for their third consecutive appearance in the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals. The Bruins have made it to back-to-back Finals as well.
Special teams have dictated the outcome in each of the first four games of the series: the only team to score on the power play or penalty kill has picked up the win, while power play or shorthanded goals have accounted for three of the four game-winners.
Aaron Herdt and Alex Strand, the Cats’ leading scorers in the regular season, have each chipped in a pair of goals for the Bobcats in the series, while Willie Brown has kicked in four assists up front. Goalie Hunter Shepard brushed off a tough Game Three on Friday with a 21-save performance in Saturday’s Game Four.
Austin captain Jade Miller also has a pair of goals in the divisional final and has registered a goal in each of the Bruins’ postseason victories. Bruins netminder Kristofer Carlson put together a strong home weekend at Riverside Arena, claiming both wins in net on 44 combined saves to help his side even the series.