The Brooks Bandits have won the 2013 RBC Cup, Canada’s 43rd National Junior A Championship, with a 3-1 victory over the Summerside Western Capitals in front of a tournament-record crowd of 4,211 on Sunday night at CUP.
The national championship is the first for Brooks, which held the No. 1 spot in the CJHL Top 20 rankings for the final 22 weeks of the regular season. The Bandits are the eighth team from the Alberta Junior Hockey League to be crowned national champions, and the fifth to do it since the start of the five-team format in 1990. The Camrose Kodiaks were the last AJHL team to win the national title, in 2001.
Cam Maclise, named RBC CJHL Player of the Year at Friday night’s awards banquet, scored once and added an assist for the Bandits, who avenged their lone loss of the week, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Western Capitals on Tuesday night.
Maclise set up the game’s first goal, centering to Anthony Petruzzelli, who had a wide open net to give Brooks the 1-0 lead at the 7:17 mark, and Dakota Mason made it 2-0 just 80 seconds later, finding the five-hole on Summerside goaltender Kevin Bailie.
Chris Caissy got one back for the Western Capitals at 10:20, squeezing a shot through Brooks netminder Michael Fredrick, but the defences took over from there, with no scoring until Maclise clinched the win for the Bandits with an empty net goal at 19:30 of the third period.
Brooks allowed Summerside just 18 shots, including none in the first 12 minutes of the third period when the Bandits held a tenuous one-goal lead. Overall, Brooks held a 36-18 advantage in shots on goal.
The Western Capitals are the second consecutive team from the Maritime Hockey League to lose in the championship game after Woodstock fell to Penticton last year in Humboldt, Sask. Summerside was the first host team to advance to the final since Dauphin in 2010.
The 2014 RBC Cup will be held in May 2014 in Vernon, B.C., with the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League serving as the host team.