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Comeback Bandits put a cap on final day of round-robin

May 5, 2012

Amarillo goaltender Mike Taffe helped the Bulls to the top spot in Pool A with a win on Saturday over Bismarck. Amarillo will face St. Louis in one semi-final, while Fairbanks will face Texas in the other semi-final.

In the final day of round-robin competition at the Robertson Cup, it took an overtime goal by the St. Louis Bandits in the final game of the day to determine the four teams that would advance to Monday’s National Semi-Finals.  In Pool A, Amarillo and St. Louis advanced with wins and in Pool B, Fairbanks advanced with a win and Texas advanced by winning the Pool B goal differential tie-breaker with Bismarck.  Texas was a -1 in pool play while Bismarck was a -7.  Sunday will be an off day for the NAHL Banquet of Champions and play resumes on Monday, May 7th with the National Semi-Finals as Amarillo plays St. Louis at 3:30pm and Fairbanks plays Texas at 7:30pm.  Here is a look at the game summaries from Saturday:

Amarillo 6 vs. Bismarck 2 – The Amarillo Bulls punched their ticket to the National Semi-Finals with a big 6-2 win over the Bismarck Bobcats in the first game on Saturday.  The Bulls never trailed in the game thanks in large part to a strong start, as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Mike Davis and Joe Kozlak.  Bismarck would strike back to tie the game at 2-2 in the 2nd period as Francis DeAugustine and Donald Olivieri lit the lamp.  However, it would not be enough as Amarillo answered with two more goals in the 2nd period from Tyler Deresky and another from Kozlak to take a 4-2 lead into the 2nd period intermission.  The 3rd period was all Bulls as the Bobcats ran out of steam as the Bulls outshot the Bobcats 16-9 in the final frame and got two more goals late from Brooks Behling and Mike Davis to make the final score 6-2 in favor of Amarillo.  Mike Taffe was solid between the pipes for the Bulls, making 25 saves in the win, while Tommy Burke suffered the loss, making 33 saves in what was his final junior game of his career. Amarillo finishes the round-robin with a 2-1 record, while Bismarck fell to 1-2. Boxscore

Fairbanks 4 vs. Port Huron 3 – Fueled by two goals in the 3rd period, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs punched their ticket to the National Semi-Finals with a come-from-behind 4-3 win against the Port Huron Fighting Falcons in the middle game on Saturday.  The win gave Fairbanks one of the two semi-final slots from Pool B.  The Ice Dogs started the scoring just over four minutes into the game as Garret Clemment scored.  However, that was answered back by two goals from the Falcons as Mitch Sand scored on the power play and Mike Moroso scored to give Port Huron a 2-1 lead heading into the 1st intermission.  Gabe Levin tied the game at 2-2 for Fairbanks, but Port Huron’s Logan Lemirande got the Falcons the lead back with his second goal of the Robertson Cup to again give Port Huron the edge heading into the 2nd intermission.  Fairbanks came out firing in the 3rd period with goals from Pavlo Padakin, and then less than a minute later the eventual game-winning goal from Evan Wilson.  Steve Perry posted the win, making 23 saves, while Max Milosek made 31 saves in the loss. Boxscore

St. Louis 3 vs. Texas 2 (OT) - Texas dominated the 1st period, outshooting the Bandits 18-5 and putting some heavy pressure on St. Louis netminder Spencer Viele.  The hard work paid off as Mico Solorzano put home his second goal of the tournament, poking home a loose puck past Viele for a 1-0 Tornado lead that carried into the 1st intermission.  The 2nd period didn’t feature any scoring, but it did feature some outstanding saves on each sides as Texas’ Hunter Leisner and the Bandits Spencer Viele made eight saves a piece, most of them of the difficult variety.  It took almost the entire 3rd period for the real action to begin, but when it did, it was perhaps the most epic thus far of the tournament.  Texas looked like they had the game wrapped up as Taylor Herndon scored on a one-timer with less than five minutes remaining to make it 2-0 Texas.  However, St. Louis didn’t give up as Joe Kalisz scored to cut the lead to within 2-1.  Then, with Viele pulled for the extra attacker, the Bandits tied the game at 2-2 as Frank DiChiara put a shot over the glove of Leisner with less than a minute remaining in regulation to force overtime in the final round-robin game of the tournament.  St. Louis completed the remarkable comeback 4:31 into the overtime as Cody Ganchar got loose along the left wing and lifted a wrist shot past Leisner for the win to advance St. Louis to the Semi-Finals. Boxscore

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