The No. 1-ranked team in Canada most of the year, the Brooks Bandits showed they were worthy of the praise with a 4-2 win over the Surrey Eagles in the opening game of the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup.
Power-play goals in the second period by Mark Reners and RJ Reed gave the Bandits the margin they'd need as they held off the Eagles who staged something of a third-period rally.
Brady Shaw got Surrey on the board in the final frame but a penalty shot goal by Brooks' Cam Maclise restored the three-goal Bandits edge and essentially sealed the win. Drew Best had a late reply for Surrey.
Bandits netminder Michael Fredrick made 40 saves in the victory while Michael Santaguida turned aside 28 for Surrey.
The Eagles are next in action Monday at 7 p.m. when they take in the Steinbach Pistons of Manitoba.
The Bandits take the ice again Sunday at 7 p.m. when they face the host Nanaimo Clippers.