Conference and division playoff champions have been determined and schedules have been finalized for the last step of both the United States Hockey League’s Clark Cup and the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup.
The Chicago Steel and Sioux City Musketeers, the two regular-season and conference playoff champions, will meet in the best-of-five Clark Cup Finals that also determine the USA Hockey Tier I junior national championship.
The Aston Rebels, Lone Star Brahmas, Janesville Jets and Aberdeen Wings won their division playoff titles and have qualified for the Robertson Cup semifinals in Duluth, Minnesota. The best-of-three semifinal series, taking place Thursday through Saturday, will determine the teams for Sunday’s afternoon’s final, which also decides the USA Hockey Tier II junior national title.
CLARK CUP: Sioux City opened the playoffs with a sweep of the Des Moines Buccaneers, but had its Western Conference Final extended to five games before finishing off the Waterloo Black Hawks 8-3 on Tuesday.
Chicago made the final for the first time in team history when it beat the Dubuque Fighting Saints in four games after needing five games to get past the Youngstown Phantoms in the first round.
Sioux City is in its first final since 2005 and looking for its first title since 2002.
Kristian Pospisil gave Sioux City a 5-0 lead 12:07 into the second period and added two assists in the deciding game.
The Musketeers got goals from eight different players and Matiss Kivlenieks made 32 saves.
Alex Limoges assisted on all three goals and Robbie Leydoun made 29 saves when Waterloo won 3-1 Saturday to force a fifth game.
Kivlenieks made 29 saves when Sioux City won Game 3, 3-0, on Friday.
Chicago closed out the Eastern Conference Final with a 7-3 win on Saturday off the strength of a short-handed goal and three assists by Jack Badini.
Badini extended his playoff scoring streak to eight games. He has five goals and eight assists in that stretch.
The Steel took the series lead Saturday with a 4-3 win by overcoming a 3-1 third-period deficit for the second time in the series.
Brannon McManus scored the game-winner.
ROBERTSON CUP: The Aberdeen Wings needed overtime to score the game’s only goal for a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wilderness Monday in the fifth and deciding game of the Central Division Finals, completing the Robertson Cup semifinal field.
Colin Raver scored his sixth goal of the playoffs for the game-winner.
Forbes Ploszaj made 46 saves in the shutout.
Trevor Micucci had 42 saves before Aberdeen broke through.
Aberdeen had been behind in the series until winning 5-2 in Game 4 when Carson Dimoff scored twice.
Nick Altmann scored twice Friday when the Wilderness took the series lead with a 4-1 win.
The Lone Star Brahmas also advanced with a 1-0 overtime win in Game 5, beating the Corpus Christi Ice Rays Saturday in the South Division.
Troy York scored the winner 4:50 into overtime.
Max Prawdzik made 15 saves in the win.
Tomas Vomacka made 34 saves before the Brahmas scored.
Evgeny Yakovlev scored two goals Sunday when the Aston Rebels beat the New Jersey Titans 6-2 in the deciding game of the East Division Finals.
New Jersey had rallied from two games down by winning 4-0 on Friday and 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.
Ryan Ferland had a 22-save shutout in Friday’s game.
Ryan Wheeler assisted on Todd Goehring’s goal to force overtime, then scored the winner 16:33 into the extra period Saturday.
The Janesville Jets won the Midwest Division in four games, finishing off the defending Robertson Cup champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5-2 on the road Saturday. Kip Hoffmann scored twice.
Fairbanks had remained alive with a 3-1 win Friday when Erik Gordon made 35 saves.
SCHEDULE: The Clark Cup final opens in Sioux City at the Tyson Events Center on Friday and Saturday.
The series moves to the Fox Valley Ice Arena in suburban Chicago on May 19 and, if necessary, May 20.
If a Game 5 is needed, it will be in Sioux City on May 23.
Aston and Aberdeen play each afternoon before Lone Star and Janesville meet in the evening at the Robertson Cup.
If either or both series reach a third game, it will be Saturday.
The final is Sunday at 1 p.m.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Tag(s): News & Features