ESTEVAN, SK (May 7, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits were shut out for the first time in the 2015-16 campaign on Saturday night, falling 6-0 to the West Kelowna Warriors in the Western Canada Cup championship game, and forcing the Bandits to win Sunday afternoon against the Portage Terriers to earn a spot in the RBC Cup national championship tournament.
The Terriers earned their spot in the runner-up game just before the Bandits game, downing the Melfort Mustangs 3-2 in double overtime in the #3-#4 game.
The Bandits allowed three third period goals, as the score got out of hand early. Connor Sodergren jammed in a rebound off of a net front scramble just 3:27 in to make it 1-0, while a Nicholas Rutigliano point shot was deflected past Hughson at 7:25 to double that lead. Before the first was out, Garrett Forster deflected a centering pass with his skate past Hughson to make it a 3-0 West Kelowna advantage.
In the second, Bandits fired a flurry of early chances, including several on a 5-on-3 power play, but couldn’t beat goaltender Keelan Williams. Soon after, the Warriors were given a five on three, and a Kyle Marino wrist shot from the left circle beat Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB) to make it a 4-0 game.
In the third, with the game well out of reach, the Bandits were sent to the penalty kill another 7 times, for 13 total penalty kills. Kylar Hope scored on an even strength wraparound goal at the 9:01 mark to make it 5-0, while Jared Marino capped off the scoring on another five on three to make it 6-0.
The Bandits were outshot 39-27 in the game, going 0 for 6 on the power play and 11 for 13 on the penalty kill.
The team’s first elimination game will come against the defending national champions, as Portage was the runner-up of the 2015 WCC and hosts of last season’s RBC Cup. Earlier in the tournament, the Bandits defeated the Terriers 9-3, but Portage had started its backup goalie and scratched two key players, defenceman Dean Stewart and forward Nick Henry.
Puck drop for the runner-up game is set for 4:00 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 3:30 PM on Q105.7. The game will be shown live on the video scoreboard at the Centennial Regional Arena too, with admission by a donation to the Brooks Food Bank.