PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, MB – For the fourth time in team history, and third straight, the Brooks Bandits are National Champions following a dominant 4-0 blanking of the Battlefords North Stars on Sunday at Stride Place.
Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, AB) made 30 saves for his third shutout of the tournament, in his final game of his Bandit career. Brooks broke the Centennial Cup record for fewest goals against in a single tournament, only surrendering four through six games.
The Brooks Bandits are the first team in history to win three straight National Junior A Championships (2019, 2022, 2023).
The Bandits were held off the scoresheet until midway through the game, as North Stars starter Josh Kotai held the fort despite Brooks outshooting Battlefords 11-5 in the 1st.
Forward Hunter Wallace (Oak Lake, MB) opened the scoring at 10:08 of the 2nd period, driving to the North Stars net and finishing to make it 1-0 Brooks. A minute later at 11:06, forward Heath Armstrong (Calgary, AB), also in his final game, chipped the puck off the defensive zone boards and raced down the ice, beating Kotai on a backhander to make it 2-0. Not long after at 11:45, forward Hudson Malinoski (Saskatoon, SK) one-timed a right circle blast to make it 3-0. The North Stars took a costly penalty late in the period, and Malinoski scored again, this time from the left circle at 19:45 to make it 4-0, the final. All goals were scored in the 2nd period. Final shots were 42-30 Brooks.
This is the Bandits fourth National Championship, which moves them into a tie with the Prince Albert Raiders for second-most.