VIDEO: Bandits Clinch First in WCC Round Robin

ESTEVAN, SK (May 4, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (3-0) scored the second-most goals in a game in Western Canada Cup history, as the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) champions got by the defending national champion Portage Terriers (2-1-1) of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) by a whopping 9-3 margin on Wednesday night at Affinity Place.

With the win, the Bandits clinched the top spot in the tournament’s round robin portion, meaning that they will have the last line change in Saturday night’s championship game against either the Terriers or the West Kelowna Warriors.

Despite the significant margin of victory, the game was a back and forth affair early, with the Bandits getting off to a 3-0 lead before the Terriers charged back to tie.

The early Bandit lead came courtesy of back-to-back goals by captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN); the first a power play rebound goal just 1:37 into the game, and the second a deflection of a Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) point shot at 3:18. Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) completed the early onslaught with a power play goal at 7:12, wristing a shot from the right side of the Portage net past goalie Josh Bykowski to make it 3-0.

The Terriers elected to rest number one goaltender Nathan Park for the game, and scratched star defenceman Dean Stewart and top line forward Nick Henry. The Bandits were without star defenceman Shane Bear (Calgary, AB).

The Portage comeback began with less than eight minutes to go in the first when Brett Orr fired a shot past Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB) from the slot to make it a 3-1 game. Then, just 96 seconds into the second period, Braydon MacDonald tapped a rebound into the Bandit net to make it a one goal game. With the Bandits on the power play at 6:41, Shawn Bowles was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway, and snapped a quick shot past Hughson to make it 3-3.

But it would be the final goal the Bandits would allow, as the Alberta champions pulled away with six consecutive goals after that.

Before the second was out, the Bandits had scored four more times. First, Thompson blasted a slap shot in from the slot on a 5-on-3 to make it 4-3. Only 21 seconds later on the ensuing 5 on 4, Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) slapped in a long point shot for a 5-3 advantage. Less than two minutes after that, a Logan Mick (Vernon, BC) shot on the rush produced a rebound that Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) hammered home to make it 6-3, while O’Connor scored his second of the period on a shorthanded rush with 1:05 left in the middle frame on a top-right corner shot fired from the left faceoff circle.

At the 3:20 mark of the third, Mappin notched his third point when he worked his way to the right faceoff circle and fed a quick pass across to Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary, AB) for a quick wrist shot goal and an 8-3 lead. The scoring was capped off with Mappin’s fourth point of the night, a hard shot from the right hashmarks at 11:19 to make it a 9-3 score.

The Bandits outshot the Terriers 53-26 in the game, going 4 for 6 on the power play and a perfect 7 for 7 on the PK.

Next, Brooks will take on the host Estevan Bruins on Thursday night at 7:00 PM in their final tune-up before Saturday’s championship. Though the Bruins have already been eliminated from playoff contention, and the Bandits cannot improve their standing through a win, Brooks can become the first team in the history of the WCC tournament to go undefeated in the round robin stage with a win. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 PM on Q105.7.