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Playoff Preview: Division Semi's come down to the wire

April 19, 2013

It is the third weekend in April and by the end of it, or at least the start of next week, the Division Finals of the 2013 Robertson Cup Playoffs will be set.  Two Division Finals have already been determined in the North and the South Divisions.  However, this weekend should provide high drama in the Central and the West Divisions complete both their Semi-Final Series.  Here is a look at the NAHL Robertson Cup Playoff update:

Click here for the updated playoff bracket

Click here to watch all the games live on FASTHockey

 

Central Division

#2 Bismarck Bobcats vs. #3 Brookings Blizzard (Bismarck leads best of 5 series, 2-0)

The Bobcats dominated the first two games of the series in Bismarck last weekend.  Seth Blair has been the main difference in the series with seven points, including five goals, in the first two games of the series.  Goaltender Aaron Nelson has been solid, but with the Bismarck offense scoring 14 goals in the first two games, he hasn’t had to steal a game yet.  On the other side, the Blizzard are going to have to start to turn things around in a hurry or find themselves eliminated from the playoffs.  It has to start in goal with Drew Weigman, who has allowed 10 goals in a little less than five periods of hockey.  Thomas Williams and Eric Brenk have accounted for two-thirds of the total goals to date.  

Game 1 – BRK 3 @ BIS 8

Game 2 – BRK 3 @ BIS 6

Game 3 - BIS@BRK Apr 19, 7:30pm

Game 4 - BIS@BRK Apr 20, 7:30pm*

Game 5 - BRK@BIS Apr 22, 7:15pm*

*if necessary

#1 Austin Bruins vs. #4 Minot Minotauros (Best of five series tied, 1-1)

The Minotauros are even in this series because they have kept the scoring low, kept the Bruins offense in check and gotten two great performances from goaltender Tyler Parks.  Austin’s offense could not get going in the first two games and the top five scorers of Brandon Wahlin, AJ Reid, CJ Smith, John Simonson and Jay Dickman have one goal combined in the first two games.  This has all the makings of an upset if the Minotauros can keep the score low and continue to keep Austin’s big guns off the scoreboard.  Either way, playing at home should give the Minotauros a good chance in Games 3 and 4.

Game 1 – MNT 1 @ AUS 3

Game 2 – MNT 2 @ AUS 1 (OT)

Game 3 - AUS@MNT Apr 19, 7:35pm

Game 4 - AUS@MNT Apr 20, 7:35pm

Game 5 - MNT@AUS Apr 22, 7:05pm*

*if necessary

 

West Division

#2 Fairbanks Ice Dogs vs. #3 Kenai River Brown Bears (Best of five series tied, 1-1)

After picking up their first ever playoff win last weekend in Fairbanks, the Brown Bears head back home to Soldotna with a load of confidence.  Expect big crowds in Kenai River this weekend (maybe their biggest ever?) to help with the Brown Bears cause in Games 3 and 4.  Both goalies (Steve Perry for Fairbanks and Marcus Zelzer for Kenai River) have been great in the first two games and share almost the exact same numbers.  Lawrence Cornellier has scored half the goals for Fairbanks in this series, while the Brown Bears have scored just three goals in two games, but enjoy a split.  The Brown Bears swept the Ice Dogs the last time the two teams met in Kenai River back in late March.

Game 1 – KNR 1 @ FAI 3

Game 2 – KNR 2 @ FAI 1

Game 3 - FAI@KNR Apr 19, 7:30pm

Game 4 - FAI@KNR Apr 20, 7:30pm

Game 5 - KNR@FAI Apr 22, 7:00pm*

*if necessary

#1 Wenatchee Wild vs. #4 Fresno Monsters (Best of 5 series tied, 2-2)

Not many people may have thought this series would have to go to a fifth and deciding game to be played in Wenatchee on Sunday, but it has.  The Monsters stole a game in Wenatchee in Game 2 last weekend and also took Game 3 on Wednesday night, setting up a win and advance scenario last night to try and shock the Wild.  However, the Wild were having none of it and their 2nd, 3rd and 4th leading scorers all stepped up to the plate and scored in a 4-2 win in Game 4 last night in Fresno.  Special teams doomed the Monsters on Game 4, as Wenatchee struck for two power play goals, which included Jacob Barber’s game-winner in the 3rd period.  Both teams will have two days rest before Game 5 in Wenatchee on Sunday afternoon.

Game 1 – FRE 0 @ WEN 7

Game 2 – FRE 3 @ WEN 1

Game 3 – WEN 1 @ FRE 2 (OT)

Game 4 – WEN 4 @ FRE 2

Game 5 - FRE@WEN Apr 21, 5:05pm

 

South Division

South Division Finals (Best of 5 series)

#1 Amarillo Bulls vs. #3 Texas Tornado (Amarillo won season series 10-2)

This series begins next week and a series preview will follow, but both teams will have had plenty of rest when they take to the ice in Game 1.  Amarillo dominated the season series, but that may mean little to the Tornado who are three wins away from getting back to the Robertson Cup to defend their title,

Game 1 - TEX@AMA Apr 25, 7:05pm

Game 2 - TEX@AMA Apr 26, 7:05pm

Game 3 - AMA@TEX Apr 30, 7:00pm

Game 4 - AMA@TEX May 01, 7:00pm*

Game 5 - TEX@AMA May 03, 7:05pm*

*if necessary

 

North Division

North Division Finals (Best of 5 series)

#1 Soo Eagles vs. #2 Jamestown Ironmen (Soo won season series, 6-2)

Both teams benefitted from having a bye week the first weekend in April.  As they rested, their opponents played in an extra series, which was a factor as both the Soo and Jamestown swept their way to Division Semi-Finals wins.  The Division Finals will offer fans a great veteran goaltending match-up between the Soo’s Tyler Marble and Jamestown’s Joe Ballmer.

Game 1 - JAM@SOO Apr 26, 7:30pm

Game 2 - JAM@SOO Apr 27, 7:30pm

Game 3 - SOO@JAM May 02, 7:00pm

Game 4 - SOO@JAM May 03, 7:00pm*

Game 5 – TBD*

*if necessary

 
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