Robertson Cup National Championship: Texas Tornado 4 vs. St. Louis Bandits 3 (OT) – Plano, Texas native Justin Greenberg pounced on a rebound and put a shot over St. Louis Bandits goaltender Spencer Viele to score in 4:36 into overtime to give the Texas Tornado their 5th Robertson Cup National Championship as they defeated the St. Louis Bandits 4-3 at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco on Tuesday night. It marked the third time a host team has won the Cup (Texas in 2004 and St. Louis in 2008) since the format was introduced in 2003-04.
St. Louis came out firing on all cylinders recording the first three shots of the game, but the Tornado seized control as the period went along, outshooting St. Louis 12-3 in the opening period. It ultimately led to the first goal of the game from Texas forward Marc Biggs, who fired a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Spencer Viele for a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period. Jack Prince and Lucas Whelan assisted.
The 2nd period was almost all Bandits, as they outshot Texas 15-12 and managed to record three goals. NAHL MVP Joe Kalisz tied the game at 1-1 as he found himself alone on the back door and got a loose puck from Josh Dangel and TJ Sherman to fire a shot over an outstretched Hunter Leisner. Texas came back to take a 2-1 lead on a fortunate bounced. Mitchell McPherson came down the left wing and centered the puck from a tight angle. Bandits defenseman Wes Elrod dove to deflect the pass, but the puck ricocheted right over the shoulder of Viele to give the Tornado the lead back. It didn’t last long as Stephen Bopp scored just a minute later to tie the game at 2-2 on a nice pass into space from Kalisz. Two minutes later, it was the Bandits taking their first lead of the night as Bopp found a streaking Drew Kariofiles, who one-timed a drive past Leisner for a 3-2 Bandits lead after two periods.
St. Louis went into defensive mode in the 3rd period trying to hang onto the one-goal margin, only recording four shots in the period. However, it wasn’t until 5:34 to go that the a desperate Tornado team managed to tie the game as Jordan Lovick fired a shot from the slot that snuck through Viele to tie the game at 3-3. Michael Hoy and Jackson Leef assisted.
As overtime started, the Tornado attacked from the start, not allowing the Bandits a shot on goal. After one close chance by Jack Prince was saved by Viele, Prince got the puck down the right wing and centered a pass to Justin's older brother Jordan Greenberg, whose shot was denied by Viele, but the rebound came right to the younger Greenberg who lifted a backhanded shot over an outstretched Viele for the National Championship-winning goal. Watch the game-winning goal here.
Texas played in an NAHL playoff-high six overtime games during the 2012 NAHL playoffs, including four in the Robertson Cup Tournament. The Robertson Cup title is the Texas Tornado organization’s fifth in team history and fifth since 2001. Only the Compuware Ambassadors (11) and the Paddock Pools Saints (7) have more Robertson Cup Championships.
The 2012 Robertson Cup All-Tournament Team was as follows:
Goaltender: Spencer Viele, St. Louis Bandits
Defense: John Kirtland, Texas Tornado
Defense: Anton Racklin, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
Forward: Joe Kozlak, Amarillo Bulls
Forward: Joe Kalisz, St. Louis Bandits
Forward/Tournament MVP: Jordan Lovick, Texas Tornado