This weekend, the NAHL will finalize the four teams that will qualify for the 2017 NAHL Robertson Cup Championship with the conclusion of the Division Finals.
One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of drama and excitement as four teams will advance for a shot at winning a National Championship, while four others will see their seasons come to an end.
The winner of each of the four series will be crowned division playoff champions and earn an invitation to the 2017 NAHL Robertson Cup Championship, taking place from May 11-14 at the Essentia Duluth Heritage Sports Center in Duluth, Minnesota.
Central Division Finals (best of 5 series)
#2 Minnesota Wilderness vs. #4 Aberdeen Wings (Series tied 1-1) – The first two games were very close and the games weekend in Aberdeen expect to be the same. In both games, the Wilderness has jumped out to leads only to see the Wings come back and tie the game each time. The Wilderness could see a change in goal as Game 2 starter and winner Trevor Micucci could get the call in Game 3 over Luke Kania. While the Wings have been scoring by committee, the Wilderness boast the top two scorers in the playoffs thus far in forwards Zach Mills (11 points) and Jesse Farabee (9 points). The Wings are looking for their first Robertson Cup appearance, while the Wilderness won the Robertson Cup in 2015.
Game 1: Aberdeen 4 @ Wilderness 3 (2OT)
Game 2: Aberdeen 2 @ Wilderness 3
Game 3: May 5, Wilderness @ Aberdeen, 7:15pm
Game 4: May 6, Wilderness @ Aberdeen, 7:15pm
Game 5: May 8, Aberdeen @ Wilderness, 7:05pm*
East Division Finals (best of 5 series)
#1 Aston Rebels vs. #3 New Jersey Titans (Aston leads series 2-0) – The Titans have a tall task ahead in winning three straight games if they want to punch their ticket to the Robertson Cup, but they first have to win Game 3. On of the big issues in the first two games was the Titans inability to generate offense. In the two losses the Titans had just 38 shots on goal against NAHL MVP and Goalie of the Year Mareks Mitens. That number will have to increase for New Jersey to win Game 3 and have a chance in the series. The Rebels are being led by forwards Gianluca Esteves and Jensen Zerban, along with Brennan Kapcheck, who all have five points. One more win for the Rebels and they would punch their ticket to the Robertson Cup for the second straight year.
Game 1: New Jersey 2 @ Aston 5
Game 2: New Jersey 2 @ Aston 3
Game 3: May 5, Aston @ New Jersey, 7:30pm
Game 4: May 6, Aston @ New Jersey, 7:30pm*
Game 5, May 7, New Jersey @ Aston, 7:00pm*
Midwest Division Finals (best of 5 series)
#1 Janesville Jets vs. #2 Fairbanks Ice Dogs (Janesville leads series 2-0) - After outscoring the Ice Dogs in the opening two games, 9-1, it has been all Janesville in the Midwest Finals. The defending champ Ice Dogs return home for the rest of the series, but will have to figure how to get a win in Game 3 in order to keep the series going. The first thing they have to solve is how to get more pucks past Jets goalie Jacob Barczewski, who has stopped 43 of 44 shots in the first two games. Jets forwards Kip Hoffman and Joseph Abate have been the go-to guys in the first two games, each with four points. The Jets are looking for their first ever trip to the Robertson Cup.
Game 1: Fairbanks 1 @ Janesville 4
Game 2: Fairbanks 0 @ Janesville 5
Game 3: May 5, Janesville @ Fairbanks, 7:30pm
Game 4: May 6, Janesville @ Fairbanks, 7:30pm*
Game 5: May 7, Janesville @ Fairbanks, 5:00pm*
South Division Finals (best of 5 series)
#1 Lone Star Brahmas vs. #3 Corpus Christi IceRays (Series tied 2-2) – Fans have been entertained with the first four games of the South Finals, which were played last weekend and in the middle of this past week. The IceRays have ridden the hot goaltending of Tomas Vomacka to be on the cusp of making their first Robertson Cup appearance, while the Brahmas have been the cardiac kids of the playoffs, while also looking for their first Robertson Cup appearance. None was more evident of that than Wednesday night in Game 4 as the IceRays held a lead in the 3rd period, only to see the Brahmas come back to tie the game and then win in overtime to even the series. While the other three series battle things out in Game 3’s on Friday, the 5th and deciding game of the South Finals will have to wait until Saturday night at Lone Star.
Game 1: Corpus Christi 3 @ Lone Star 4 (OT)
Game 2: Corpus Christi 3 @ Lone Star 0
Game 3: Lone Star 1 @ Corpus Christi 4
Game 4: Lone Star 3 @ Corpus Christi 2 (OT)
Game 5: May 6, Corpus Christi @ Lone Star, 7:30pm