Bandits fall in Robertson Cup championship game
By: Warren Mayes
The St. Louis Bandits came up just short in their quest to win the Robertson Cup for the fourth time.
The Texas Tornado won their fifth Robertson Cup national championship with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Bandits on Tuesday (May 8th) in Frisco, Texas.
It marked the third time a host team has won the Cup (Texas in 2004 and St. Louis in 2008) since the format was introduced in 2003-04 by the North American Hockey League.
St. Louis won the Robertson Cup Champion in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Justin Greenberg pounced on a rebound and put a shot over Bandits goaltender Spencer Viele to score in 4 minutes, 36 secnds into overtime.
Texas scored the first goal when forward Marc Biggs fired a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Viele. Texas outshot St. Louis 12-3 in the first period.
The Bandits scored three goals in the second period, outshooting Texas 15-12. League MVP Joe Kalisz tied the game at 1-1 when he found himself alone at the net and got a loose puck from Josh Dangel and T.J. Sherman.
Texas came back to take a 2-1 lead on a fortunate bounce. Mitchell McPherson came down the left wing and centered the puck from a tight angle. Bandits defenseman Wes Elrod dove to deflect the pass, but the puck ricocheted right over the shoulder of Viele to give the Tornado the lead back.
St. Louis came right back. Stephen Bopp scored just a minute later to tie the game at 2-2 on a nice pass into space from Kalisz. Two minutes later, it was the Bandits taking their first lead of the night as Bopp found a streaking Drew Kariofiles, who one-timed a drive past Leisner for a 3-2 Bandits lead after two periods.
The Bandits went into defensive mode in the third period trying to hang onto the one-goal margin. St. Louis recorded only four shots in the period.
With 5:34 to go that the, Texas managed to tie the game as Jordan Lovick fired a shot from the slot that snuck through Viele to tie the game at 3-3.
As overtime started, the Tornado attacked from the start, not allowing the Bandits a shot on goal. Jordan Greenberg took a shot that was denied by Viele, but the rebound came right to the younger Greenberg, who lifted a backhanded shot over an outstretched Viele for the national championship-winning goal.
The Bandits’ Kalisz and Viele were named to the 2012 Robertson Cup All-Tournament team.
St. Louis reached the title game by scoring twice in the third period to scored a come-from-behind 3-2 victory and defeat the Amarillo Bulls in the semfinals.
Goals were scored by Drew Slaton, Stephen Bopp and Kalisz, who scored the game-winner.
Texas Tornado advanced to the championship game by beating the defending champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs.