Brooks Bandits have a 10 point lead over second place Okotoks following back-to-back Alberta Junior Hockey League home wins this past weekend.
The Bandits had little difficulty disposing of Olds 6-1 Friday and the Calgary Canucks 8-0 Saturday evening. The victories gave the Bandits their 50th and 51st consecutive victories at home.
Play Friday had the Bandits turning in a dominating performance for the first 40 minutes. They outshot the Grizzly 12-1 and 18-9 before being outshot 12-11 in the final frame.
Head coach Ryan Papaioanou’s squad went up 1-0 at 13:35 when Ryan McAllister (Jordan Di Cicco and Taylor Makar) converted on a two man power play.
Devin Phillips, who was a thorn in the side of goaltender Duncan Hughes in the opening period, made it 2-0 on a shot into an open net at 15:38. Chris Pappas drew the lone assist on the play.
Play in the second period had Jordan Di Cicco (James McIsaac and Corson Ceulemans) making it 3-0 with a power play goal at 7:23.
TJ Hughes then went to work to score two goals less than a minute apart.
Hughes (Brayden Krieger and Di Cicco) struck at 12:58 and added his second goal (Heath Armstrong) at 13:15.
Brooks and Olds exchanged quick goals in the third period to close out the scoring.
Forward Chris Pappas (Makar) made it 6-0 at 6:22 before the Grizzlys stormed back for their lone goal at 7:01 by Colton Koran.
The Bandits went two for six on the power play while the Grizzlys failed to connect on two chances with the man advantage.
Brooks outshot the Grizzlys 41-22. Jordan Di Cicco was named the game star for the Bandits.
Ethan Barwick picked up his seventh win of the year in helping his team sweep the six game series with the Grizzlys.
The AJHL announced Monday that Olds head coach and general manager Joe Murphy has resigned.
Play Saturday night had the Calgary Canucks picking up their 35th loss of the season.
The visitors simply had no answer to stop a six goal first period by the defending Canadian Junior A champions.
Brayden Krieger (Pappas and Randy Hernandez) opened the scoring on the power play at 2:38.
Trey Thomas (Phip Waugh and McIsaac) made it 2-0 at 5:21.
Phip Waugh then scored unassisted at 8:57 to put the Bandits up 3-0.
The final five minutes of the opening period had Brooks striking for three more goals.
TJ Hughes (Justin Ross and Ethan Lund) found the back of the net at 15:29. Randy Hernandez (Ceulemans) made it 5-0 at 16:59 and Brayden Krieger (Pappas and Hernandez) closed out the scoring with a power play goal at 19:46.
The Bandits outshot the Canucks 22-5 in the period.
Jordan Di Cicco (Pappas and Phillips) made it 7-0 at 10:12 and Trey Thomas (Waugh and McIsaac) closed out the scoring at 18:22.
The Bandits outshot the Canucks 14-5 in the second period and 10-4 in the final frame for a 46-14 shots on goal advantage.
Phip Waugh was named the Brooks game star while Ethan Barwick picked up his third shutout of the season.
With the wins, the Bandits maintained their number one ranking in the Canadian Junior Hockey League. Also making the top 10 are the Sherwood Park Crusaders at number three and the Okotoks Oilers at number six.
The Bandits will take to the road this weekend for games against the Lloydminster Bobcats Friday and the Sherwood Park Crusaders Saturday.
Lloydminster sits last in the North Division while the Crusaders are the top team.
Sherwood Park holds an eight point lead over the second place Spruce Grove Saints and also has three games in hand. The Crusaders are five points behind the Bandits for first place overall but have a game in hand.
The Bandits lead the South Division standings with 77 points with a record of 38-3-1. They are followed by the Okotoks Oilers who have 67 points with a record of 32-6-3. Drumheller sits in third place with 49 points, Camrose in fourth with 43 points, Canmore in fifth with 36 points, Olds in sixth with 23 points and the Calgary Canucks in seventh place with 14 points.
The next home games for the Bandits are Friday, Jan. 24 when the North Division third place Bonnyville Pontiacs pay a visit to town. The Bandits will host the Sherwood Park Crusaders.