FRISCO, Texas — The 2014 Robertson Cup champion will be determined by a play-down format, consisting of four separate rounds over the course of six weeks, the NAHL announced Monday.
“We are excited to be moving to a more traditional playoff format and are eager to see it in action,” NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said in a press release. “It offers a very competitive atmosphere for the players and teams, and is a pure test of attrition to determine our national champion. This shift in format enhances the level of excitement for the fans and increases the level of competition for those on the ice that are giving their all to have their names permanently engraved on the Robertson Cup.
“At this point in our history we felt like going back to the play-down format was the right thing to do. It provides us with the most exciting, competitive and fair way to determine a champion. We felt that even though our league is national in scope and may provide some travel challenges during the playoffs, from a logistics standpoint we are in a good position as a league to meet those challenges to ensure that the integrity of determining a champion remained the focus. Most importantly, all playoff games, including those in the Robertson Cup finals, will be decided by the traditional game format. There will be no tie-breakers, or round-robins, pools or play-in games. Each game in each series will be played until there is a winner.”
The top four teams from the regular season in each of the NAHL’s four divisions will qualify for the 2014 Robertson Cup playoffs. The playoffs will consist of four rounds: the division semifinals (16 teams), the division finals (eight teams), the Robertson Cup semifinals (four teams) and the Robertson Cup finals (two teams).
The playoffs will be held from April 3-May 11.
For the past 10 seasons, the Robertson Cup champion has been decided by a tournament-style format, in which divisional champions would qualify to advance to a host location, where a round-robin format would ensue to determine a champion.
Wild swept by Brown Bears
The Wenatchee Wild entered the third period of their Sunday game against the visiting Kenai River Brown Bears with a one-goal lead and a chance for an upset over a division-leading foe.
Wenatchee had a chance to snap its losing streak, but instead gave up three goals in the final period of play and fell 4-3 to cap a three-game home series against the Brown Bears. The Wild are now 5-8-2 overall and have lost six straight — three of the last four setbacks have been by one goal.
Wenatchee jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period. Ryan Gotelaere scored off an assist from Troy Loggins and Parker Tuomie, and Trey Bradley followed that up with one of his own three minutes later off an assist from River Rymsha and Loggins.
But the Brown Bears kept their composure and chipped into the lead by scoring the lone goal of the second period. They sank the game-tying shot on a shorthanded goal early in the third period and claimed a 3-2 advantage with just over six minutes left in regulation.
Chris Jones re-tied the contest at 3-3 with a power play goal off an assist from Chris Koukis and Gotelaere, but Kenai River buried a go-ahead goal with less than two minutes left to play, which sealed its victory, as well as a three-game road sweep over the Wild.