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Texas, St. Louis advance to National Championship Game

May 7, 2012

The St. Louis Bandits defeated the Amarillo Bulls, 3-2 to advance to the Robertson Cup National Championship game against the Texas Tornado on Tuesday.

The Robertson Cup National Championship game is set after two thrilling, one-goal Semi-Finals on Monday.  In the first Semi-Final of the day, the St. Louis Bandits scored twice in the 3rd period to come-from-behind to defeat the Amarillo Bulls, 3-2.  In the second Semi-Final, it took almost an entire overtime, but the Texas Tornado triumphed over the defending champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs to advance the hosts to the National Title game.

The Robertson Cup National Championship game between St. Louis and Texas will be on Tuesday, May 8th at 7:30pm at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.  The game can be watched live on FASTHockey.

Here are the summaries from the Semi-Final games on Monday:

St. Louis 3 vs. Amarillo 2 – The comeback kids did it again, as two 3rd period goals fueled the St. Louis Bandits to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Amarillo Bulls in the first of two Robertson Cup National Semi-Finals on Monday afternoon.  The win advances St. Louis, who is a three-time Robertson Cup Champion (2007, 2008, 2009) into Tuesday’s National Championship Game.  The game started on the right note for the Bulls, who opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game as a shot from the point from Karl Beckman found its way through traffic to beat a screened Spencer Viele for a 1-0 Bulls lead.  Omar Mullan and Zane Popilock assisted on the goal.  St. Louis fought back to tie the game at 1-1 as Drew Slaton got loose on top of the crease to poke home a rebound over Bulls goaltender Mike Taffe with assists to Joe Kalisz and Greg Johnson.  The Bulls would get the lead back on a nice end-to-end rush by John Gustafsson, who weaved his way through traffic and fired a wrist shot that beat Viele to the low glove side.  Joe Kozlak and Mike Erickson picked up assists.  Although the 2nd period did see any scoring, the Bandits managed to stay close thanks to Viele, who made several key saves to keep his team in the game down only a goal heading into the 3rd period.  In the 3rd, Stephen Bopp tied the game at 2-2 as he slipped a rebound under Taffe thanks to some hard work down low by linemate Luc Boby.  Just over a minute later, league MVP Joe Kalisz would score the eventual game-winner thanks to a mad scramble in front as his lifted a shot past the blocker of Taffe.  Rance Hughes and Joe Birmingham assisted on the goal.  The rest of the period was a stingy Bandits defense, which allowed just three Amarillo shots the entire period.  The Bulls got Taffe pulled with less than a minute to go, but never got the quality scoring chance they were looking for as time ran out.  Viele was spectacular in the win, making 23 saves, while Taffe took the loss, making 21 saves.  Boxscore

Texas 4 vs. Fairbanks 3 (OT) – An overtime goal from Tornado forward Drew Allen gave Texas a 4-3 overtime win, sending the four-time Robertson Cup Champion and host Tornado into the National Championship game on Tuesday night.  The game had a nice pace from the start with both teams creating quality chances.  Eight minutes into the 1st period, Ice Dogs forward Alec Hajdukovich started the scoring as a Tornado turnover led to a pass from Tayler Munson to Hajdukovich on the back door and Hajdukovich slipped a shot past the outstretched left leg of Texas goalie Hunter Leisner.  Texas got some good fortune of their own as a broken play led to a 2 on 1 as Jordan Lovick found Skyler Spiller, who fired a shot through the arm of Fairbanks goaltender Alex Fons to tie the game at 1-1.  With less than a minute left in the game, Fairbanks regained their one goal edge as a rush up the ice saw Gabe Levin slip a nice feed to Rudy Sulmonte, who crashed the net and tipped home a shot on Leisner’s short side for a 2-1 Fairbanks lead after one period.  Both goaltenders began the 2nd period making some quality saves.  However, Texas managed to equalize thanks to a nice passing play from Drew Allen to Drew Mayer, who slipped a shot over the blocker of Fons to tie the game at 2-2.  That’s how the 2nd period would end with Texas outshooting Fairbanks 12-8 in the period.  The 3rd period was another great one of back and forth action.  A Tornado turnover at the Fairbanks blue line led to an Ice Dogs 3 on 2 down the ice as Rudy Sulmonte found Gabe Levin, who then fed a trailing Anton Racklin who fired a shot past a sprawled Leiser for a 3-2 Fairbanks lead halfway through the period.  Texas did not give up however as a broken play in the low slot found the stick of rookie Justin Greenberg, who fired a shot that squeaked past Fons to tie the game at 3-3.  Helpers went to Jack Prince and Jordan Lovick.  Texas had the best chances as time expired as the game would be decided in overtime.  Most of the overtime was conservative with neither team wanting to make a mistake and both goalies coming up with some big saves when they had to.  However, with just 3:21 remaining in the first overtime Drew Allen got a pass in the high slot from Drew Mayer and fired a shot through the legs of Fons for the game-winner.  Fons finished with 31 saves in the loss, while Leisner made 23 saves in the win. Boxscore

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