Bandits Clinch Spot in RBC Cup Semi-Final

Photo: Matt Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images

COBOURG, ON – The Brooks Bandits (3-0) got eight goals from eight different goal scorers, recording the largest shutout win in the more than two-decade history of the RBC Cup, and largest at a national Junior A championship since a 9-0 win by New Westminster at the 1990 Centennial Cup, downing the central champion Trenton Golden Hawks 8-0 on Tuesday afternoon.

The win assures Brooks of a spot in Saturday’s semi-final games, with their upcoming Thursday prime-time matchup with the host Cobourg Cougars a potential battle for first place in the standings.

Brooks opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game right off of an offensive zone faceoff, as Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) centered a puck to Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) at the top of the crease for a quick one-timer goal. The Bandits outshot Trenton 13-7 in the opening period but held just the one goal lead.

The game was blown wide open in the second, however, with the Bandits outshooting the Golden Hawks 16-5 and adding four more goals.

First, just 17 seconds in, Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) one-timed in a slap shot goal from the right halfboards. Then, Makar dropped a puck off at the right halfboards for Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) to curl to the middle and deposit past goalie Chris Janzen to make it 3-0. Less than a minute after that, a Kord Pankewicz (Drayton Valley, AB) point shot was deflected home by Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON) for a 4-0 lead, as the Bandits chased Janzen from the game.

The frustrated Golden Hawks soon found themselves parading to the penalty box, with a 5-on-3 man advantage leading to a rocket of a shot by Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) going bar-down to make it 5-0 with just over a minute left in the period.

In the third, Brooks struck three more times on the power play. First, Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) fired a pass from the right point to Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) backdoor for a one-timer goal and a carbon copy of Sunday night’s overtime winner against Penticton. Then, David D’Agostino (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON) fired a wrister home from the right circle on a man advantage for a 7-0 lead, before Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN) finished off the scoring by tapping home a rebound from the top of the crease to notch the 8-0 final score.

Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) made 23 saves for the shutout win as Brooks outshot Trenton 43-23, going 4 for 8 on the power play and a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.

Brooks will take Wednesday off before matching up against the tournament hosts, the Cobourg Cougars, on Thursday night at 5:30 PM Alberta time, with pre-game coverage beginning at 5:00 PM on Real Country 105.7.

By Tyler King