Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bismarck & Traverse City are big winners on Robertson Cup Opening Day

The opening day of the 2010 Robertson Cup Championship saw the Bismarck Bobcats & Traverse City North Stars win some close games on the opening day.

Bismarck despite the win was expected to give the Bandits a tough push as the Bandits begin their quest for a 4th straight League Championship, while Bismarck is looking to rebound after a bad showing from last year. With the #2 VS. #3 Seeds playing each other on Day 1, the Bobcats have taken a huge step towards the team's first league Championship. A strong PP and a hat Trick by Sam Rendle put the Bobcats to 1-0 in the tournament.

In the Traverse City VS. Wenatchee, huge expectations for the Wild after winning the West Division for the 2nd straight year and having them as hosts will mean big crowds supporting the Wild. It was a very close and back-and-Fourth game. It looked like we would have had OT but a goal in the final minute by Chris Heinemann gave the North Stars the Robertson Cup Opening Win and put a set-back in the Wild's Championship Hopes.

Bismarck Bobcats VS. St. Louis Bandits

This year's tournament opener saw a very fast start to this game as both teams were firing shots from all over the ice as everybody will be looking to knock off the St. Louis Bandits who have won the NAHL Robertson Cup the last 3 years.

Bismarck's Sean Mckenzie who scored his 4th of the playoffs to make it 1-0 Bobcats. Just 6 minutes later, the Bandits power-play fired right back with Craig Kitto to make it 1-1 midway through the 1st period. Both teams continued to pepper shots at the goalie but the 1st period would end at 1-1. Both teams ended the 1st period with 11 SOG as it had the looks of a high scoring game between the Central & South Division Champions.

The 2nd period made the difference for Bismarck and one player in particularly Sam Rendle took over the game with 2 goals in just 5 minutes to give the Bobcats a 3-1 lead. He would later score again in the 3rd period to basically put the game away in the 3rd period to get him a hat trick in the game. The strong 2nd period by Rendle and a power play that scored 3 times in the game made a huge difference as the Bobcats made a huge step towards making the Robertson Cup Championship Game on Sunday for the first time since 2004 when they lost to the Texas Tornado.

Despite several penalties that hurt the Bandits momentum when they were down 4-1. St. Louis made a strong effort to get back in the game as Craig Kitto scored on a great set-up play by Stouffer to make it 4-2 Bobcats midway through the 2nd period. But costly penalties that killed the momentum eventually lead to Sam Rendle's 3rd goal on the power-play to make it 5-2 Bobcats to win this year's Tournament Opener. St. Louis did make it 5-3 in the final minute, but by then, it was to little to late for the Bandits.

Going into Day 2, the Bobcats will have their off day then will return on Thursday to play the Traverse City North Stars. While the Bandits will look to get back in the tournament as they will play the Traverse City North Stars.

Game Boxscore

Bismarck Bobcats 5 St. Louis Bandits 3 (1-1, 3-0, 1-2)

1-0 BIM: Sean Mackenzie (PP) (Kleisinger) 5:58 1st

1-1 STL: Craig Kitto (PP) (Bertsch) 11:37 1st

2-1 BIM: Sam Rendle (Klein) 3:59 2nd

3-1 BIM: Sam Rendle (Unassisted) 8:42 2nd

4-1 BIM: Dominic Panetta (PP) (Mckenzie) 18:48 2nd

4-2 STL: Craik Kitto (Stoffer) 5:09 3rd

5-2 BIM: Sam Rendle (PP) (Fabian) 16:18 3rd

5-3 STL: Cody Gonchar (Quakenbush, Gettinger) 19:25 3rd

Game Stats

SOG: BIM 33 STL 29

PP: BIM 3/9 STL 1/4

PIM: BIM 8 Minutes on 4 Penalties STL 18 Minutes on 9 Penalties

Goalies: BIM Ryan Faragher 26 SVS on 29 Shots STL Tyler Bruggeman 28 SVS on 33 Shots

ATT: 1007

3rd Star: Ryan Faragher (BIM)

2nd Star: Craig Kitto (STL)

1st Star: Sam Rendle (BIM)

Traverse City North Stars VS. Wenatchee Wild

You don't have to look long for the main storyline in this game. The Power-Play was a big difference as the North Stars scored 3 times to help the North Stars comeback to tie it at 1-1, 2-2, and 3-3 in this game. For Wenatchee, the Tournament Hosts and the Favorites to win the Championship this season by some went an embarrassing 0/8 in a game where they were 14 power play chances combined.

With Wenatchee out-shooting the Traverse City North Stars 39-27 in this game, the Wild would have had this game won if they could have converted on any of their 8 power-play chances. For Traverse City, 3 power play goals came at huge times as the North Stars came back from 1-1 and 2-2 went up 3-2 where the North Stars never trailed again in this one.

The SOG were flying all around in this game as both teams were able to get double digit SOG in every period excpt for Traverse City in the 3rd period. It took just 5 minutes to make it 1-1, Wenatchee forward Mark Miller scored his 2nd goal of the playoffs just 4 minutes into the game that put the home crowd into a frenzy. But just 90 seconds later, it was big Andy Huff who's more known for his hitting then his scoring, despite scoring 22 goals in the regular season.

Nathan Sliwinski and Garrett Thompson each traded goals later in the period to make it 2-2. Thompson has been very big in the playoffs with 10 points (Including 6 Goals) as he scored the first of 3 power play goals on the night.

Traverse City finally took the first lead of the night when Eric Mclintock scored just 58 seconds into the 2nd period on the power-play to give the North Stars their first lead of the night at 3-2. After stunning the Wild crowd early in the 2nd period, unlike the 1st period, both teams used a more cautios approach and the Wild were looking to rev up the pressure. Despite 4 penalties in succession for the Bandits, the PK held firm by killing off all the North Stars PP chances.

Traverse City Goalie Drew Strandberg who has played every minute for the North Stars in this year's playoffs. However after giving up Dajon Mingo's goal to tie the game at 3-3. the goal at 14:25 made the North Stars switch goalies. And put in backup Chris Paliafito who hasn't played since the Regular Season Finale on March 26 played very well, by stopping 13 of 14 shots in the 2nd half of the game.

The 3rd period saw the Wild take over the game by out-shooting the North Stars 13-5, but it was Dan Radke who scored the team's 3rd power play goal of the night to make it 4-3 with assists from Thompson and Clifford midway through the 3rd period.

After that goal it looked like the North Stars would be able to fend off the Wild peppering the defense and goalie Paliafito. However, Michael Di Puma scored with 2 and a half minutes left. It looked like that OT would decide this game until defensemen Chris Heinmann scored with just 34 seconds to make it 5-4 and help the North Stars win their first Robertson Cup Game in Team History.

Traverse City is looking to continue their great start on Wednesday against St. Louis.While Wenatchee will be playing the tournament long-shot in the Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Game Boxscore

Traverse City North Stars 5 St. Louis Bandits 4 (2-2, 1-1, 2-1)

0-1 WEN: Mark Miller (Mckenzie, Jubinville) 4:08 1st

1-1 TRC: Andy Huff (Mclintock) 5:33 1st

1-2 WEN: Nathan Sliwinski (Mckellar, Mckenzie) 8:23 1st

2-2 TRC: Garrett Thompson (PP) (Clifford, Heinmann) 13:14 1st

3-2 TRC: Eric Mclintock (PP) (Hugg, Shkreli) 0:58 2nd

3-3 WEN: Dijon Magon (Di Puma) 14:25 2nd

3-4 TRC: Dan Randke (PP) (Thompson, Clifford) 10:34 3rd

4-4 WEN: Michael Di Puma (Miller) 17:37 3rd

4-5 TRC: Chris Heinemann (Opie) 19:26 3rd

Game Stats

PP: TRC 3/6 WEN 0/8

SOG: TRC 27 WEN 39

PIM: TRC 22 Minutes on 11 Penalties WEN 18 Minutes on 9 Penalties

Goalies: TRC Drew Strandberg 22 SVS on 25 Shots Chris Paliafito 13 SVS on 14 Shots WEN Brandon Jeager 22 SVS on 27 Shots

ATT: 2870

3rd Star: Michael Di Puma (WEN)

2nd Star: Eric Mclintock (TRC)

1st Star: Chris Heinemann (TRC)

Robertson Cup Tournament Standings after Day 1

1. Bismarck 1-0-0 2 PTS 5-3

2. Traverse City 1-0-0 2 PTS 5-4

3. Fairbanks 0-0-0 0 PTS 0-0

4. Wenatchee 0-1-0 0 PTS 4-5

5. St. Louis 0-1-0 0 PTS 3-5

Robertson Cup Schedule for Day 2 (All Start Times are PDT)

Traverse City North Stars VS. St. Louis Bandits 2:05 PM

Fairbanks Ice Dogs VS. Wenatchee Wild 6:35 PM

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