Topekans will be treated to an appetizer of hockey in prelude to next week’s Robertson Cup tournament.
It was announced Tuesday that the best-of-three play-in series between the Bismarck Bobcats and Michigan Warriors will be played in Landon Arena. The winner of the series will join the Topeka RoadRunners, Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Amarillo Bulls in the tournament.
Game 1 of the play-in series will be played Thursday night and Game 2 will be Friday night. Both games will start at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
If the teams split the first two games, a “mini-game” will be played after the ice is resurfaced following Game 2 on Friday night. The mini-game would consist of a 20-minute period, with the team leading after that period being declared the series winner. If the score is tied at the end of the mini-game, sudden-death overtime rules will go into effect.
“After exploring all of our options regarding where to host the play-in series, it was determined it was in the best interest of the participating players, from a travel perspective, to play the games in Topeka,” North American Hockey League commissioner Mark Frankenfeld told NAHL.com. “This gives both teams plenty of rest leading up to the play-in series and, for the winner, time to prepare for the Robertson Cup championship tournament.”
The play-in series became a reality after the Amarillo Bulls claimed their spot in the tournament with a 3-1 win against the Topeka RoadRunners in Game 5 of the South Finals on Monday night. Fairbanks and Amarillo earned berths to the tournament by virtue of having earned the most regular season points of the remaining teams, leaving Bismarck and Michigan to battle for the final spot.
The RoadRunners received an automatic berth to the Robertson Cup as the host team.
The Central Division-champion Bobcats and North Division-champion Warriors are each coming off Game 5 wins to claim their respective divisions.
The defending Robertson Cup champion Bobcats defeated Coulee Region 3-1 Monday, while Michigan advanced to the play-in round with a 2-1 victory against St. Louis.
The first two games of the Robertson Cup will be played Tuesday, March 3 in Landon Arena.