Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
COBOURG, ON – Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) opened the scoring on his 19th birthday just 35 seconds into the game, as the Brooks Bandits downed the Terrebonne Cobras 6-3 to begin the 2017 RBC Cup national championship tournament with a 1-0 round robin record.
Captain Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) was named player of the game with two goals, including a shorthanded marker and the game-winner, while Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) chipped in a penalty shot goal and one assist.
The first period was a busy one, featuring seven of the game’s nine goals. After Vachon’s opening-minute goal, a rebound chance off a Kord Pankewicz (Drayton Valley, AB) point shot, the Bandits doubled the lead when Foo was held on a breakaway, but snapped a penalty shot attempt five-hole on goalie Jeremy Belisle to make it 2-0.
But the Bandits were then called for 4 consecutive penalties, and Terrebonne’s potent power play went to work. First, Vincent Lavoie collected a Bandit d-zone turnover and centered the puck to William Gignac, who one-timed in a power play marker at 7:15 to get the Cobras on the board. On a 5-on-3 power play, a point shot blast by Loik Leveille beat goalie Mitche Bsnon (Windsor, ON) to tie the game up.
But as the fourth penalty kill began to run out of time, Prkusic started a Bandit surge when he sniped a shorthanded goal on a shot from the right circle on a 2-on-1 rush.
Less than a minute later, back at full strength, a Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) centering feed from behind the net came to Prkusic for a tap-in goal and the eventual game-winner.
In the final minute of the first, Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) completed the opening scoring with a laser beam of a shot from the top of the right circle at 19:21 to make it 5-2 after the first period.
A scoreless second gave way to a two-goal third in which a Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) feed found Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) for a close-range goal to make it 6-2 Brooks. Terrebonne clawed closer when Eric Leger scored on a turnaround wrister at 9:16, but it was as close as the Quebec champions would get, as Brooks held on for the 6-3 win.
Benson made 27 saves on 30 shots for his first RBC Cup win, as the Bandits went 1 for 6 on the power play and 6 for 8 on the penalty kill.
Next, the Bandits take on the BCHL champion and Western Canada Cup runner-up Penticton Vees, who had an off day for the first day of the tournament, in a rematch of their thrilling WCC game which ended in a 4-3 Bandits shootout win.
Puck drop is set for 1:30 PM Alberta time with pre-game coverage starting at 1:00 PM on Real Country 105.7.