NAHL Robertson Cup Tournament Kicks-Off Today


The NAHL Robertson Cup, the oldest junior hockey trophy in the United States, is up for grabs as the tournament gets underway Friday May 10th at the Dr. Pepper Starcenter in Frisco, TX. The Robertson Cup is awarded to the NAHL Champion and also represents USA Hockey’s Tier II Junior National Champion. The Robertson Cup was first awarded in 1976. In all over 800 names have been added to the cup in its 37 years.

The NAHL is the largest USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior A League with 24 teams in 13 states. The league is a League of Opportunity, offering young men 16-20 the opportunity to develop into outstanding collegiate and professional players while playing in some the nation’s state-of-the art facilities.

This year four teams qualified for the Robertson Cup Tournament by capturing their division crown through two rounds of playoff action. The teams are the Amarillo Bulls from the South Division, the Wenatchee Wild from the West Division, the Bismarck Bobcats from the Central Division and the Jamestown Ironmen from the North Division. The four teams were seeded based on their final regular season point total.

The Robertson Cup schedule runs from Friday May 10 through to the Championship Game on Monday May 13. All times shown are Central Standard Time.

Fri May 104:30pm#3Bismarckvs. #2Wenatchee
7:30pm#4Jamestownvs. #1Amarillo
Sat May 114:30pm#4Jamestownvs. #2Wenatchee
7:30pm#3Bismarckvs. #1Amarillo
Sun May 124:30pm#2Wenatcheevs. #1Amarillo
7:30pm#4Jamestownvs. #3Bismarck
Mon May 137:30pmChampionship Game : Top two teams determined by  round-robin play

Tickets for the event are available at the door and are $25 for a Tournament pass or $10 for a daily pass. All seating is general admission. In addition all tournament games can be viewed live on FASTHockey.

How They Got Here

Amarillo Bulls

For the second season in a row the Bulls entered the playoff as the Regular Season Champions. Amarillo racked up a 46-7-7 record in the South Division which many consider to be the toughest division in the league.

Statistically Amarillo led the league both offensively averaging 4.13 goals per game and defensively allowing just 1.97 goals against per game. The Bulls brought a very balanced scoring attack to the ice night after night as despite leading the league in total offense they had only two players in Mike Davis (28G-31A) and TJ Sarcona (20G-37A) finish in the top 25 in scoring. Where they excelled was in the +/- rankings holding down the top six spots in the league led again by Davis at a +48. In total the Bulls had 18 players at or above a +20.

In goal the Bulls were backstopped by Paul Berrafato who led the league with 33 wins and a 1.66GAA. Berrafato’s .928SV% was good for fifth in the league.

On special teams Amarillo had the fifth ranked power play at 17.33% tallying 48 goals on 277 opportunities. The penalty killing unit was also ranked fifth in the league allowing 39 goals on 283 times short handed for 86.22%.

In the first round of the playoffs, Amarillo dispatched fourth seeded Corpus Christi in four games after dropping the first game of the series on home ice. The Bulls outscored the Icerays 17-12 in the four games. The Bulls opponent in the South Division Finals was the defending National Champion Texas Tornado who Amarillo swept in three games outscoring Texas 14-5.

Wenatchee Wild

Wenatchee finished the regular season atop the West Division with a 39-15-6 record despite a late season slump that saw them go 3-7-0 in their last 10 games. The Wild’s 84 points was good for fifth in the league standings.

Jono Davis (32G-29A) led the Wild who could boast five players with more than 40 points on the season including the NAHL Defenseman of the Year Joshua Hartley (9G-34A). Davis’ 32 goals tied him for third in the league while Hartley’s 34 assists were good for 14th overall and first among defensemen. Wenatchee ranked fifth in the league in goals per game at 3.28 and were fourth in goals against with 2.45 per game.

Robert Nichols was Wenatchee’s number one goalie for the season finishing second in the league in wins with 31 and sixth with a 2.21GAA. Nichols 6 shutouts led the league.

The Wild were middle of the pack on the power play ranked at number 12 with 42 goals on 260 opportunities for 16.15%. Their penalty kill on the other hand was outstanding all season finishing second in the league at 87.26% allowing 33 goals on 259 penalty kills.

After the Wild dominated Fresno with a 7-0 shutout in game one of their first round playoff matchup, the Monsters came back to push Wenatchee to the brink of elimination. Wenatchee had to win games four and five to advance to the division finals. In the West Division Finals, the Wild were once again tested, this time by the second seed Fairbanks Icedogs, as the series went the full five games. The Wild outscored the Icedogs 12-9 in the five game series.

Bismarck Bobcats

The Bobcats closed out the regular season picking up points in each of their final 10 games going 7-0-3. Their 35-16-9 overall record put them solidly in second place in the Central Division behind Austin. With 79 points, Bismarck ranked seventh overall in the league.

Bismarck was a classic example of winning with defense. The Bobcats offense finished tied for 11th with Wichita   Falls at 3.07 goals per game. On the other side of the ledger, Bismarck’s 2.33 goals allowed per game was second only to Amarillo. Adam Knockenmus (19G-32A) and Patrick Moore (21G-29A) led the Bismarck offensive charge.

In net, Aaron Nelson put up a 1.88GAA good for second in the league and a .931SV% which was fifth in the league. Nelson had 24 wins and five shutouts on the season.

Bismarck’s special teams both finished at number 11 on the season. The power play wound up at 16.25% on 45 goals in 277 opportunities while the penalty kill was successful on 218 of 256 times short handed good for 85.16%.

The Bobcats had a fairly easy time of it in round one of the playoffs sweeping the Brookings Blizzard while outscoring them 20-6. In the Central Division Finals, Bismarck faced the number one seed Austin Bruins and after dropping game one in Austin, came back to win the next three to claim the divisional championship. The final two games of the series were very competitive with both being decided by a single goal.

Jamestown Ironmen

Jamestown finished second in the crowded North Division with a 37-19-4 record. Their 78 points placed them one spot below Bismarck in the final season league standings.

The Ironmen are the only one of the four division winners to not have a 50 point scorer on the season. What the Ironmen did have is scoring up and down the lineup, in all 17 players on the roster logged double digit point totals during the season. Luc Gerdes (27G-21A) led the team which ranked 16th in the league at 2.83 goals per game. Jamestown defense allowed 2.53 goals per game to place sixth in the league.

The Jamestown power play finished in the bottom half of the league at number 14. The Ironmen converted 36 of 225 opportunities to finish at 16.00%. Their penalty kill fared even worse coming in number 17 in the league at 82.67% on 39 goals allowed in 225 penalty kills. The Ironmen benefited from being short handed the third fewest times on the season.

Jamestown had a revolving door between the pipes this season as four goalies played in at least seven games on the season. Joe Ballmer closed out the season as a late addition to the roster and finished with a 9-5-0 record with a 2.34GAA and .920SV%.

The Ironmen were impressive in the first round of the playoffs, knocking off Kalamazoo in a three game sweep. Jamestown outscored the K-Wings 12-1 in the series. In the North Division Finals, Jamestown swept the Soo Eagles who were the division regular season champions.