WENATCHEE -- The Wenatchee Wild defeated the St. Louis Bandits in its final game of the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament on Saturday night in overtime, 5-4. The Wild concluded the tournament with a 2-2 record, but did not qualify for Sunday’s championship game.
The Wild and Bandits exchanged goals throughout the game with neither team leading by more than a goal through 60-plus minutes. Ultimately, the Wild earned the win 7:51 into overtime when Armand de Swardt scored on an unassisted blistering slap shot from the top of the far circle during a power play.
The Bandits led 1-0 after the first period behind Ryan Stouffer’s goal at the 14:06 mark from right in front of the Wild net on Joe Kalisz’s feed from behind the cage. Wild forward Dajon Mingo tied up the contest 99 seconds into the second period. Entering the offensive zone at full speed, Mingo whistled a wrister from the top of the near faceoff circle that ricocheted off goaltender C.J. Groh’s stick and into the net.
Stouffer reclaimed the lead for the Bandits, 2-1, less than two minutes after Mingo’s goal. However, Mingo tied the contest back up, 2-2, near the midpoint of the second frame. Shorthanded, Mingo teamed up with de Swardt as the two forwards entered the Bandits’ zone on a 2-on-2. Mingo slipped the puck to de Swardt, who sent a backhanded pass between a defender’s skates back to a wide-open Mingo, who tapped the puck into the twine for his second goal of the contest.
The Wild and Bandits each scored two goals in the third period, as the game remained tied at the end of regulation. Jeff Jubinville gave the Wild its first lead 2:50 in the third period on his third goal in the last two games, when he beat Groh one-on-one. Ryan Timar and Kyle Brodie assisted. Patrick Sheehan tipped Brooks Bertsch’s pass past Wild netminder Brendan Jensen a little over five minutes after Jubinville’s goal to force the third tie of the game.
Wenatchee recovered the lead, 5-4, at the 8:58 mark, when Christian Hilbrich knocked a rebound into the cage off a de Swardt shot from the slot. St. Louis forced overtime when Ryan Belonger scored on a redirect off Sheehan’s slapper from the point during a power-play opportunity.
Jensen stopped 32-of-36 shots and earned his second straight win in the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament. Groh turned aside 34 of the Wild’s 39 shots. The Wild went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Bandits went 1-for-3.
De Swardt scored the game-winning goal to go along with two assists while Mingo scored two goals. For the Bandits, Stouffer scored two goals, Sheehan scored a goal and added an assist, and Kalisz recorded two helpers.
The tournament is over for the Wild, but the Fairbanks Ice Dogs will play the Bismarck Bobcats at 5:05pm on Sunday in the Robertson Cup championship game.