By: Joey Battaino
It was a postseason that didn't start off very auspiciously for the Texas Tornado. They lost their first round match up to the second seeded Topeka Roadrunners, three games to none. But being the host of this year's Robertson Cup, they were assured a spot in the final six team tournament. All they did was beat three first place opponents on their way to their 5th Robertson Cup title.
In the finals, their opponents were the St. Louis Bandits. A team lead by NAHL mvp and leading scorer Joe Kalisz (UCONN). Texas had already beaten St. Louis once in round robin play on an overtime winner by Drew Allen. Texas got the scoring started in the first on a goal by Marc Biggs. He snapped a shot from the bottom of the right circle beating Bandits goalie Spencer Viele on the short side glove. It was 1-0 Texas after one.
In the middle frame, Davison, MI native Joe Kalisz put St. Louis on the board on the Powerplay. Kalisz was stationed on the bottom of the left wing circle and Josh Dangel found him. Kalisz put it in to an empty side of the goal. Then, Mitchell McPherson scored for the Tornado on a centering pass that went off of defenseman Wes Elrod's stick and in behind the goaltender. 1:04 later, Stephen Bopp tied the game on a beauty pass from Kalisz from behind the goal. And grinder Drew Kariofiles gave St. Louis a 3-2 advantage going into the third.
St. Louis began to sit back and Jordan Lovick tied the game at the 14:26 mark. Feverish pace brought the third to an end with the score tied at three.
It didn't take long for Texas to end it in overtime, Justin Greenberg scored at 4:36 on a rebound after Jack Prince through the puck towards the goal.
The big debate now is, Should the team that hosts the Robertson Cup get an automatic birth, even if they are eliminated from playoff contention? Texas won THREE playoff games all together. St. Louis, the runners-up won NINE. Something doesn't add up here. Folks, what it comes down to is selling tickets and the almighty dollar. Say the Robbie cup is played in Flint next season, but the Warriors were eliminated in the first round. As a Warriors fan, would you buy tickets to see the other teams play for the title? The answer is no and quite frankly, the markets in this league aren't strong enough to support a tournament without a home team. What it comes down to is what's fair and what's not. These kids deserve every opportunity to be successful, but not at the expense of the teams that deserve to be there. Owning a hockey team is like owning a boat. B.O.A.T. Bust out another thousand. Maybe instead of trying to make money on this tournament, the league should focus on getting the right teams in it, even if it cost them a few dollars in the end.
This is my personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Michigan Warriors, the NAHL, or any of it's Franchises.