The Aston Rebels and Janesville Jets opened 2-0 leads in their best-of-five Robertson Cup divisional final playoff series with wins Friday and Saturday.
The Robertson Cup determines the North American Hockey League playoff champion and USA Hockey Tier II junior national title.
Aston defeated the New Jersey Titans, 5-2 and 3-2, in the East Division finals.
Janesville defeated the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 4-1 and 5-0, in the Midwest Division finals.
The Rebels allowed just 18 shots in the first game.
Dustin Manz scored the winner midway through the third period of Game 2, breaking a 2-2 tie.
Joseph Abate scored 1:36 into the opener for Janesville and finished with two goals and an assist.
Jacob Barczewski had 23 saves in the shutout. Kip Hoffman scored twice in the game.
ROBERTSON ROUNDUP: Griffin Loughran scored two goals and Tomas Vomacka made 34 saves Tuesday when the Corpus Christi IceRays defeated the Lone Star Brahmas, 4-1, to take a 2-1 lead in the South Division final.
Vomacka posted his second shutout of the playoffs Saturday when he made 36 saves in a 3-0 win.
Justin Addamo scored at 2:26 of overtime in Friday’s opener to lift Lone Star to a 4-3 win.
Trevor Micucci made 39 saves and Zach Mills scored his league-leading sixth playoff goal Saturday to lift the Minnesota Wilderness over the Aberdeen Wings, 3-2, to even the Central Division series at a game apiece.
Aberdeen came from two goals down to win Friday’s opener, 4-3, in double overtime on Logan Jenuwine’s breakaway goal.
CLARK CUP: Both Clark Cup conference final series are tied at 1-1.
Each series, that will determine the Clark Cup finalists, is best-of-five.
The Clark Cup is awarded to the United States Hockey League playoff champion and represents the USA Hockey Tier I junior national title.
Waterloo tied the West Conference series with a 2-1 win Sunday in Sioux City over the Musketeers.
Robbie Beydoun made 30 saves Yuki Miura scored about seven minutes into overtime.
Sioux City won the opener, 5-2, when it scored the game’s first three goals then got a short-handed goal from Odeen Tufto after its lead was cut to one.
The Dubuque Fighting Saints also tied their series on the road Saturday with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Steel.
Jaxon Castor made 34 saves.
Chicago had won the opener, 4-3, by coming from two goals down with three goals in the final 12 minutes.
Brannon McManus, who had also scored the tying goal, scored the game-winner with 4:21 left.
RJMHL AWARD: Kameron Fink was named Most Valuable Player among forwards, one of three honors that went to the Steamboat Wranglers, when the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League presented its postseason awards.
Fink led the team with 58 points in 46 games. He had nine multiple-goal games in the regular season and had three goals and two assists in a 5-1 win over Pikes Peak in the RMJHL finals.
The Wranglers, a first-year team that led the league in attendance, were named Organization of the Year and Troy Mick was named Coach of the Year. Mick, the team president, took over as coach in November and guided the team to 23 wins in 31 games, including winning streaks of seven and eight games.
The league champion Pikes Peak Miners and Aspen Leafs each picked up two awards.
Pikes Peak’s Erik Anderson was named MVP among goaltenders. He led the league in wins (19) and shutouts (four) while posting a 2.26 goals against average and .940 save percentage.
Teammate Kole Mudra took the Leading Scorer award after finishing with 44 goals and 36 assists.
Aspen’s Viacheslav Goev was named MVP among defensemen and Charlie Van Allen was named Student-Athlete of the Year.
COACHING CHANGE: The NAHL’s Austin Bruins have hired Steve Howard as head coach and general manager.
Howard has spent the last three seasons as assistant coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks under P.K. O’Handley.
The 38-year-old from Burton, Michigan, coached the Flint Junior Generals of the North American 3 Hockey League to a 69-21-4 record in two seasons, earning 2013-14 NA3HL Coach of the Year honors.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc
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