Cup teams expect grueling road to title

The four participants in the Robertson Cup exerted quite a bit of energy while trying to qualify for the tournament.

 

Now that the field is set, the four teams are bracing for another grueling set of games.

“What you have coming up here is a sprint every night,” Topeka RoadRunners coach Scott Langer said. “It’s going to be a game of bounces, it’s not like it’s a series. It’s going to be very difficult fitness-wise. It’s three games in three nights, and then hopefully you get in the semis.”

The round-robin portion of the NAHL title tournament begins Tuesday at Landon Arena. The Amarillo Bulls will take on the Michigan Warriors at 4:05 p.m. to kick off the tournament. The RoadRunners will then play the Fairbanks Ice Dogs at 7:35 p.m.

After three days of round-robin action, the teams will be re-seeded. The team with the lowest amount of points after three games will be eliminated, while the team with the highest amount of points will receive a bye to the championship game. The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds will play at 7:35 p.m. Friday night to advance to Saturday night’s championship game.

Langer hopes his squad can bounce back from a disappointing loss in the South finals.

“We are either going to learn from our mistakes and have a good tournament, or we’re going to continue on this same path and be three-and-out,” he said.

Fairbanks Ice Dogs

Coach -- Josh Hauge (third season).

Key players -- JT Osborn, forward. Jared Linnell, forward. Jack Callahan, defenseman.

Regular season record -- 40-15-3

Road to the Cup -- West semifinals: defeated Kenai River, 3-0. West finals: defeated Wenatchee, 3-1.

Franchise history -- Joined the NAHL in 2003. …Won West Division regular season titles in 2008-09 and 2010-2011… Advanced to the Robertson Cup championship game last season, falling 3-0 to the Bismarck Bobcats.

Amarillo Bulls

Coach -- Dennis Williams (first season).

Key players -- Zack Smoot, forward. Nikifor Szczerba, goaltender. Derek Hills, defenseman.

Regular season record -- 36-16-6.

Road to the Cup -- South semifinals: defeated Texas, 3-1. South finals: defeated Topeka, 3-2.

Franchise history -- Joined the NAHL in 2008 as the Albert Lea Thunder. …Relocated to Amarillo this season and changed team name to the Bulls. … Finished second in the South Division this season.

Michigan Warriors

Coach -- Moe Mantha (first season).

Key players -- Robert Tadazak, goaltender. Andrew Kolb, forward. Ryan Green, forward.

Regular season record -- 35-17-6

Road to the Cup -- North semifinals: defeated Traverse City, 3-1. South finals: defeated St. Louis, 3-2. Play-in series: defeated Bismarck, 2-0.

Franchise history -- Joined the NAHL in 2006 as the Marquette Rangers. … After four seasons in Marquette, the team relocated to Flint, Mich., as the Warriors this season. … Won the North Division regular season championship last season in Marquette… Finished third in the North this season.

Topeka RoadRunners

Coach -- Scott Langer (seventh season)

Key players -- Justin Hussar, forward. Nate Milam, forward. Brian Christie, forward. Jacob Poe, defenseman.

Regular season record -- 43-12-3.

Road to the Cup -- South semifinals: defeated Wichita Falls 3-2. South finals: Lost to Amarillo, 3-2. Received an automatic bid to the Cup as the host team.

Franchise history -- Joined the NAHL in 2003 as the Lone Star Calvary before spending three seasons in Santa Fe, N.M., as the Santa Fe RoadRunners. … Moved to Topeka in 2007. … Won South Division regular season championships in 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2010-11. … Won the South Division postseason championship in 2008. …Won the NAHL regular season championship this season.

 

More

RoadRunners take 6-2 loss vs. Wichita Falls

The Topeka RoadRunners dropped a 6-2 decision to Wichita Falls on Sunday in Landon Arena.

Read more

RoadRunners fall to Bulls for second straight night

Playing flat offensively and defensively in Friday’s tussle with the Amarillo Bulls, the Topeka RoadRunners looked to respond Saturday on Teddy Bear... Read more

RoadRunners rout Kenai River Brown Bears 6-2

The Topeka RoadRunners are striving to make progress every game.

Read more

Local sports briefs for Nov. 17: Former Topeka High Trojan earns all-conference honors at Macalester College

Topeka High product Alec Beatty, a sophomore wide receiver at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., was named second-team All-Midwest Conference after... Read more