BROOKS, AB (March 2, 2019) – The Brooks Bandits (57-3) capped off the most successful regular season in the history of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) on Saturday night, defeating the visiting Okotoks Oilers 6-1 in front of a crowd of 1,626 at the Centennial Regional Arena.
The win gave the Bandits an undefeated home record of 30-0, including 29-0 at the CRA, a league record, and set a new AJHL record for fewest losses with only 3 on the season. The team was the first to ever record 57 wins in a season, and 112 points in the standings, and finished the year on a league record 33-game win streak.
With 334 total goals on the year, the Bandits recorded the fifth-best offence in league history, scoring the most goals by a team since 1998-99.
Leading scorer William Lemay (Marieville, QC) led the way offensively with four assists, pushing his season total to 90 points, which is almost certain to clinch the Ernie Love Trophy as AJHL Top Scorer when the season ends tomorrow.
Captain Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) scored the first of a hat trick performance at the 5:05 mark when he collected his own rebound off a wraparound attempt and flipped the puck by a sprawling goaltender Connor Ungar of the Oilers to give Brooks a 1-0 advantage. He then doubled the lead on the power play at the 15:27 mark, firing home a one timer from the right circle on a perfect backdoor feed by Lemay to make it 2-0.
In the second, Simon Gravel (Boucherville, QC) scored just 34 seconds in when he backhanded home a puck from the slot. Ben Evanish scored on a rebound for Okotoks to get the visitors on the board at 3:18, but the Bandits responded at 9:42 with Plessis’ hat trick goal, a tap-in from the top of the crease on another Lemay setup on the power play to push the score to 4-1 Brooks.
In the third, Gravel notched his second of the night when he backhanded home a puck from the left side of the net that barely trickled over the Oiler goal line. With 14 seconds left in the game, Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) scored on a perfectly placed top shelf wrister off the rush while shorthanded, to not only notch the 6-1 final score but also send the home crowd with free Wendy’s cheeseburgers.
The Bandits outshot the Oilers 38-27 in the game, going 2 for 5 on the power play and a perfect 4 for 4 on the penalty kill to end the year. Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) made 26 saves for his 42nd win of the season, which tied Michael Fredrick’s mark from 2012-13 for second-most in AJHL history.
The Bandits will now enter the playoffs on a first round bye, awaiting the lowest seeded remaining South division team after the first round is complete. They are scheduled to host Games 1 and 2 of the South Semi-Final on Friday, March 15th and Saturday, March 16th.