Photo Credit – Matthew Murnaghan:
BROOKS, AB ? In front of a capacity crowd of over 2,500 at the Centennial Regional Arena, the Brooks Bandits captured their second national title in franchise history on Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 win over the Prince George Spruce Kings.
Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) led the way with two goals, including the eventual winner late in the third period, winning player of the game honours.
The second-year Bandit opened the scoring just 1:33 into the game on a spinning backhand wraparound shot. At the 7:36 mark, William Lemay (Marieville, QC) blasted a point shot through a screen and past PG netminder Logan Neaton to make it 2-0.
A Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, BC) rebound goal at the 13:20 mark capped off the dominant first for Brooks, ending the opening twenty minutes with a 3-0 lead and 16-5 shot advantage.
But Prince George outshot Brooks 24-13 the rest of the way, making for a dramatic finish. Patrick Cozzi scored a power play rebound goal just 2:22 into the second period, but Boyko reclaimed the three-goal lead at the 16:13 mark when he stopped up at the left circle and wired a top-shelf wrister past Neaton to make it 4-1.
In the third, Nick Poisson scored for PG at the 10:26 mark and Nolan Welsh made it a one-goal game with 45 seconds left, but the Bandits held on for the dramatic win, streaming off the bench and celebrating their historic season.
The Bandits are just the third host team in tournament history to go a perfect 6-0, following the 1994 Olds Grizzlys and 2002 Halifax Oland Exports.