The Brooks Bandits captured their first Western Canada Cup Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League champs pounded the Chilliwack Chiefs 6-1.
“It’s awesome. It’s something new for this club. Couldn’t be happier to be leading the way with a great group of guys who deserve it,” said Bandits captain Nick Prkusic, adding it is special in what the group accomplished. “It’s unreal. Out of all the great teams that have been in Brooks, we’re the first team to win this one.”
The Bandits sealed their win as Parker Foo scored into an empty net at 11:01. The Chiefs outshot the Bandits 13-7 in the final frame, but were unable to solve tournament most valuable player Mitchel Benson, who finished with 29 saves.
The Bandits blew the game open with four goals on 18 shots.
Connor Jean put the Bandits up 2-1 on the power play after Parker Foo and Joe O’Connor set him up 2:22 into the frame. Four minutes, 12 seconds later, the Bandits went up 3-1 as Arnaud Vachon beat Mark Sinclair glove side. The Bandits then added two more in the final three minutes, both by Jean, to earn the hat trick.
“To have the shot at it tonight and come out and play the way we did we were pretty confident that we could do this,” said Prkusic. “Definitely didn’t want to play tomorrow with your season on the line. We left it all out there and it paid off.”
The Bandits opened the scoring in the first at 11:54 when Josh McKechney set up Oliver Chau who fired a wrist shot from the high slot with traffic in front of the Chiefs goal. The Chiefs responded on the power play as Carver Watson put a shot on goal. Justin Dixson then put away the rebound.
Chiefs coach-GM Jason Tatarnic felt his team had a really good first period and were good for 10 minutes in the second.
“They got those power play goals and it made it tough,” he said. “They created a big lead and … that makes it kind of tough. They are a good hockey team, but I thought we played well. They got some bounces there.
“We had lots of chances tonight to score goals,” continued Tatarnic. “I thought we were right there and they capitalized and we didn’t.”
Now the Chiefs will play the Penticton Vees Sunday for the second RBC Cup berth as the SOEC at 4 p.m. In their previous meeting, the Chiefs defeated the Vees 4-2.
Attendance for the game was 1,700.