Bandits Clinch First Place in Group A at Centennial Cup

ESTEVAN, SK (May 24, 2022) – TJ Hughes scored a hat trick, the Brooks Bandits converted on the powerplay six times, trouncing the Pickering Panthers 9-1, clinching 1st overall in Group A at the 2022 Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, Tuesday afternoon at Affinity Place.

The Bandits (3-0-0-0) have scored a combined 25 goals through three games (5-2 vs Longueuil, 11-4 vs Red Lake, and 9-1 vs Pickering), and now lead Group A with 9 points. Brooks has earned a bye through the quarter-finals and will play in the Semi-Final on Saturday, time and opponent to be determined.

Photo: Matt Murnaghan/Hockey Canada

Brooks opened the scoring 6:14 into the contest, as forward Brendan Poshak (Northern Michigan) tipped a Zach Bookman (Merrimack) point shot to make it 1-0, Bookman’s first game since April 29th in the AJHL Final. The Bandits doubled their lead to 2-0 at 9:18, as forward TJ Hughes (Michigan) one-timed a behind-the-net pass from defenceman Josh Zinger (Northern Michigan) to double the lead. Shots in the 1st were 11-5 Brooks.

Pickering’s penalty troubles continued in the 2nd, with back-to-back high sticking double minors. Hughes scored again on the powerplay at 3:23, scoring a forehand shot from the left circle to make it 3-0. He completed the hat trick at 6:02 on the powerplay, tucking a backhand shot on a left circle pass from Ryan McAllister (Western Michigan) to increase the lead to 4-0. Zinger scored on his off-wing from the left circle on the powerplay to make it 5-0, chasing Panthers goaltender Zachary Roy. Andrew Ballantyne came in to finish the game, and Pickering got one back at 14:43 from Dustin Hutton to cut the lead to 5-1. Shots in the 2nd were 12-9 Bandits.

Brooks kept their foot down with another powerplay goal at 13:16 of the 3rd, as Bookman sniped a top left shot from the right circle to make it 6-1. Forward Devin Phillips (Holy Cross) banged in a net-front attempt on the man advantage at 17:32 for a 7-1 advantage, followed by an Anthony Cipollone tipped shot on the powerplay at 17:47 to make it 8-1. Forward Noah Hackett put the final touches on the game at 19:29, knocking in a puck from the slot to make it 9-1, the final. Shots in the 3rd favoured Brooks 15-6, and were 38-20 overall. Bandits goaltender Ethan Barwick (Lindenwood) made 19 saves for his third win of the tournament.

The Bandits wrap up their preliminary round schedule on Wednesday, May 25 when they face the host-Estevan Bruins. Game is 7:30 pm, live coverage on Real Country 105.7 FM and