BANDITS GET FIRST RBC CUP WIN, BEAT WARRIORS IN TENSE ALL-WEST BATTLE
JASON LA ROSE
LLOYDMINSTER, Alta./Sask. – Logan Mick had two goals and an assist, helping the Brooks Bandits to their first win of the 2016 RBC Cup, 4-1 over the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday night in a heated match-up between West Region rivals.
The meeting was the third between the teams in the last 15 days; the Bandits earned a 4-2 preliminary-round win May 1 at the Western Canada Cup, before the Warriors blanked Brooks 6-0 in the regional tournament final one week later.
Jeff Malott, Cale Makar and Joe O’Connor had the other goals for Brooks, which evened its record at 1-1. O’Connor finished with a goal and an assist, while Ty Mappin added two helpers.
Quinn Foreman had the lone goal for the Warriors, who dropped to 1-1.
The bad blood that remained from the Western Canada Cup was evident right from the ceremonial face-off prior to the game, and the teams combined for 18 penalty minutes in the opening 20 minutes.
The Bandits needed just 3:32 to get the scoring started; Jesse Baird chipped the puck out of the defensive zone and up to a streaking Jeff Malott, who made no mistake on a shorthanded breakaway, beating West Kelowna netminder Keelan Williams under the blocker for an early 1-0 lead.
An end-to-end rush by Kristan Blumenschein led to the tying goal at 15:32; the puck ended up in front of the net on the stick of Foreman, who quickly went to the backhand to beat Brooks goaltender Garret Hughson.
But Makar restored the Bandits’ lead with just 59 seconds left in the opening frame, walking in off the blue-line before snapping a shot past Williams to put the AJHL champions up 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Tensions cooled slightly in the second period, with just a single minor called, but O’Connor took advantage of the power play to beat Williams through traffic midway through the middle frame to make it 3-1.
Mick got his first at 14:51 after a turnover at the West Kelowna blue-line; Mappin laid the puck back for a hard-charging Mick, who ripped home a one-timer to send Brooks to the dressing room up 4-1.
He added another midway through the third, parking himself at the top of the crease and jamming a loose puck past Williams to cap the scoring.
Brooks finished with a 46-37 advantage in shots on goal.
The Bandits are on the ice next Tuesday when they face the host Lloydminster Bobcats in an all-AJHL match-up (7:30 p.m. MT), right after the Warriors meet the unbeaten Trenton Golden Hawks (3:30 p.m. MT).