Tornado win franchise's fifth Robertson Cup
The Texas Tornado won the Robertson Cup for the fifth time in franchise history after a 4-3 overtime victory over the St. Louis Bandits at Dr Pepper Arena on Tuesday night. Justin Greenberg scored the overtime game-winner, sending the corwd home happy after another exciting Robertson Cup game. Marc Biggs, Mitch Mcpherson, and Jordan Lovick also scored for the Tornado, who won the Robertson Cup on home ice for a second time in team history. They also won the Robertson Cup in Frisco in 2004, the first of three straight NAHL championships. Hunter Leisner earned the win in net, stopping 19 of 22 shots.
After losing two games in overtime to Topeka in the divisional playoffs, four of the five games the Tornado played in the Robertson Cup went to overtime, and the Robertson Cup championship was no exception. Texas lost the first two overtime contests in which they played, falling to both Amarillo and St. Louis in pool play. But after an overtime victory against Fairbanks in the semifinal round, the Tornado managed another thrilling win in the championship game. The goal was scored after Jack Prince’s initial shot was stopped, Jordan Greenberg fanned on the rebound, but his younger brother was there to put it home and send the Tornado bench into a frenzy.
The first goal of the game came late in the first period on Biggs’ first marker of the Robertson Cup. Jack Prince had the puck behind the net and spotted Biggs open in the right-wing circle. As the puck was still bouncing toward him, he fired a one-timer that snuck through Bandits goaltender Spencer Viele’s short-side for the goal.
The Tornado took that lead into the second period after dominating the first, outshooting St. Louis by an 18-5 margin. The Bandits evened the score on a power-play goal by NAHL MVP Joe Kalisz, but Mcpherson scored later in the period to give the Tornado a 2-1 lead. Mcpherson was simply looking to throw the puck towards the goal from the corner, but Bandits defenseman Wes Elrod dove to block the pass and deflected the puck over Viele’s shoulder and in for the goal.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as just over a minute later, Stephen Bopp tied the score. As Bopp drove to the net, Kalisz hit him with a perfect pass, which Bopp redirected past Leisner and make it a 2-2 game. Two minutes following that goal, Drew Kariofiles snapped a one-timer past Leisner and the Bandits took their first lead of the game.
It remained 3-2 into the third and throughout the majority of the period, but with under six minutes to play, Lovick picked up the goal which tied the game. Michael Hoy had the puck at the point and dribbled it into the slot. In one motion, Lovick turned 180 degrees to get his body to the net and sent a slapshot by Viele to tie the score.
The rest of regulation was played without a goal, sending the game into overtime, where the 17-year-old Greenberg, who scored a third-period, game-tying goal the previous night against Fairbanks, became the hero. With their fifth NAHL championship since 2001, the Tornado have won more Robertson Cups than just two franchises, the Compuware Ambassadors and the Paddock Pool Saints.