The Rebels are seeking to become the NAHL’s first ever team to win the Robertson Cup in their first year of play.
Robertson Cup Preview
The North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup semi-finals will begin play on Thursday, May 12 at the Braemer Ice Arena in Edina, Minnesota. All four of the division champions from the regular season won their respective divisional playoff series. The semi-finals pit number one seed Fairbanks Ice Dogs against number four seed Aston Rebels while number two seed Wichita Falls Wildcats against number three seed Bismarck Bobcats. The semi-finals are best of three series while the championship game is best of one, which will be played on Sunday.
The East Division champ Rebels have a 6 – 0 record in the playoffs. They advanced by sweeping the Johnstown Tomahawks in the divisional finals. The Rebels were led by Ryan Cusin’s nine points (5 goals and 4 assists), Dean Balsamo’s eight points (3 goals and 5 assists) and Andrew Bellant’s seven points (5 goals and 2 assists). Darion Hanson won two of the games against Johnstown while Trevor Micucci was the winning goalie during the series clincher. Hanson has a 5 – 0 record during the playoffs with a 1.98 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. Micucci has a 1 – 0 record with a 2.00 goals against average and a .946 save percentage.
Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Ice Dogs have a 6 – 3 record in the playoffs. The regular season’s number one team with 49-8-3 record beat Coulee Region Chill in the first round three games to one and then beat the Minnesota Wilderness three games to two. The Ice Dogs are led by Todd Burgess’ 13 points (5 goals and 8 assists). Gavin Nieto has played in all nine games and has a 1.70 goals against average and .928 save percentage.
During the regular season, the Midwest Division champion Ice Dogs were led by Burgess’ 95 points (38 goals and 57 assists), Ryan Gorowsky’s 83 points (28 goals and 55 assists) and Logan Coomes’ 65 points (25 goals and 40 assists). Nieto had a 33 – 5 record with a 1.71 goals against average and .929 save percentage.
Ice Dogs vs. Rebels
The Ice Dogs and Rebels split their four games each other during the regular season with each team winning two games. Each team won an away game. The Ice Dogs out scored the Rebels 13 goals to nine. The Ice Dogs were 4 for 27 on the power play while the Rebels were 3 for 22. The Ice Dogs were led by Burgess (two goals) and Clay Cross (two goals). Josef Ingman had three assists. Nieto played in three games. He had a 2 – 1 record with a 2.00 goals against average and .928 save percentage. While four Rebels each had a goal (Michael Merulla, Balsamo, Bellant and Gvido Jansons), Kristofers Bindulis and Cusin had two assists respectively. Hanson had a 2 – 1 record with a 2.66 goals against average and a .94 save percentage.
Wichita Falls Wildcats
The South Division champion Wildcats have a 6 – 0 record in the playoffs sweeping the Odessa Jackalopes and the Topeka RoadRunners. Wichita is led by the Austins: Austin Beaulieu’s 12 points (4 goals and 8 assists) and Austin Albrecht’s 10 points (5 goals and 5 assists). Justin Kapelmaster has won all six games between the pipes posting a 1.83 goals against average and .945 save percentage.
The Wildcats had a 44-11-5 record during the regular season for 93 points. The team was led by Albrecht’s 60 points (26 goals and 34 assists), Beaulieu’s 49 points (17 goals and 32 assists) and Jonathan Lazarus’ 46 points (16 goals and 30 assists).
Kapelmaster had a 33 – 8 record with a 2.06 goals against average and .924 save percentage.
The Central Division champ Bobcats have a 6 – 3 record in the playoffs. They defeated Brookings Blizzard three games to one, and they then defeated the Austin Bruins three games to two. Bismarck is led by Willie Brown’s 13 points (3 goals and 10 assists), Aaron Herdt’s nine points (5 goals and 4 assists) and Alex Strand’s nine points (3 goals and 6 assists). Hunter Shepard has played in all nine games posting a 1.98 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
Bismarck had a 37-19-4 record during the regular season. They were led by Herdt’s 52 points (19 goals and 33 assists), Strand’s 49 points (27 goals and 22 assists) and Harrison Aide’s 44 points (15 goals and 29 assists). Shepard had a 34 – 11 record with a 1.90 goals against average and .926 save percentage.
Robertson Cup Schedule
Rebels vs. Ice Dogs
Game 1: Thursday, May 12 at 4:30pm (CDT)
Game 2: Friday, May 13 at 4:30pm (CDT)
Game 3: Saturday, May 14 at 3:00pm (CDT) – if necessary
Wildcats vs. Bobcats
Game 1: Thursday, May 12 at 7:30pm (CDT)
Game 2: Friday, May 13 at 7:30pm (CDT)
Game 3: Saturday, May 14 at 6:00pm (CDT) – if necessary
Sunday, May 15 at 1:00pm (CDT)