Brooks Bandits set a new standard in excellence in the Alberta Junior Hockey League Saturday evening with a record setting 25th consecutive victory.
The record win came via a 4-1 victory over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. It came on the heels of the record tying 24th victory over the Lloydminster Bobcats Friday night. The Okotoks Oilers set the record last season.
Brooks shutout Lloydminster 8-0 to clinch the Dave Duchak trophy as the regular season champions. It is the third time in the history of the team that they have secured top spot overall and home ice throughout the playoffs.
Despite the record, it was business as usual for the Bandits. There was no huge celebration other than congratulating goaltender Pierce Charleson for the victory.
The team’s 23rd straight win came on the road last Tuesday with a 4-0 victory over the Okotoks Oilers.
The shutout victory was the fifth for goaltender Pierce Charleson. He stopped 23 shots to help give his team 23 straight wins.
Brooks opened the scoring at 12:09 on a goal by Andranik Armstrong (Ethan Lund).
Defenceman Brandon Scanlin (William Lemay and Nathan Plessis) made it 2-0 at 18:05 with a power play goal.
The Bandits outshot the Oilers 9-4 and 8-6 in the second period that featured no scoring.
Play in the third period had Okotoks outshooting the Bandits 13-9 but it was the South Division champions who did all the scoring.
Bobby Harrison (Armstrong) made it 3-0 at 3:52 and Jake Theis (Ray Christy and Arnaud Vachon) closed out the scoring at 6:49.
The Bandits were good on one of five chances with the man advantage while the Oilers also had five power plays.
Andranik Armstrong was named the Brooks game star.
A bitterly cold night Friday did not stop 1,287 spectators from watching the Bandits pick up their 24th straight win.
This contest was relatively easy with the Bobcats not putting up much of a fight.
Nathan Plessis and Ray Christy led the way with two goals apiece.
Plessis scored back to back goals in the first period with markers coming at 3:30 and 8:11. Assists went out to Bast, Boyko, Ethan Lund and Theis.
Ryan Mashie (Lucas and Vachon) made it 3-0 on his 30th goal of the season and Vachon (Boyko) closed out the period scoring at 18:39.
Goaltender Tanner Marshall only faced three shots in the period while Justin Vertesi had 20 shots.
Marshall faced five shots in the second period with his biggest save coming on a penalty shot by Jordan Borysiuk. The penalty shot was awarded when he was tripped skating in on a partial breakaway.
The penalty shot helped Marshall pick up his fourth shutout in nine games played with the Bandits.
Offensively, the Bandits hit the back of the net three times. Simon Gravel (Scanlin and Lemay) scored the lone power play goal of the game at 4:45.
Christy (Vachon, Bast) made it 6-0 at 6:14. He then closed out the period with his second of the evening at 11:39 (Vachon and Mahshie).
The Bandits outshot the Bobcats 16-5.
It was more of the same in the third period with the Bandits outshooting the Bobcats 15-4 for a 51-12 shots on goal advantage.
The lone goal of the period came at 16:44 from Randy Hernandez (Gravel and Lemay.
Saturday night’s 25th win was recorded against a team looking to get back on the winning track following a 2-1 loss to the Calgary Canucks Friday.
The Oil Barons used their size to stymie the Bandits at times but they could not prevent the host team from scoring four times.
Simon Boyko opened the scoring at 3:42 of the first period on a deflection and Randy Hernandez made it 2-0 at 9:29 when he tapped a rebound past goalie Chrjs Curr.
The Oil Barons pulled to within one goal 11 seconds into the second period on a shot from the slot that beat goaltender Pierce Charleson. It was the only goal of the period.
Defenceman Brandon Scanlin was tagged with a penalty at the end of the second period but made up for it in the third.
He stepped out of the penalty box and skated in to score on a breakaway. Despite being pushed from behind, Scanlin still managed to get his shot to go into the net at 2:07.
Mack Hancock closed out the period scoring on a five minute power play at 6:50.
The Bandits outshot the Oil Barons 22-19 and went one for five on the power play while stopping three power plays of the Oil Barons.
The AJHL new record holderss have eight games remaining in the regular season. They will be back on the ice Wednesday at 7 p.m. when the host the Olds Grizzlys.
Head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou’s team will then travel to Camrose Friday and Olds Saturday.
Fans can watch the Bandits on Family Day Monday when they take on the Calgary Mustangs at 4 p.m.