BANDITS SCORE FOUR IN FIRST, HOLD ON TO BEAT CANADIANS AT RBC CUP
JASON LA ROSE
LLOYDMINSTER, Alta./Sask. – Cale Makar and Jeff Malott had two goals and an assist apiece, leading the Brooks Bandits past the Carleton Place Canadians 5-4 in the preliminary-round finale for both Thursday at the 2016 RBC Cup.
Brooks will finish first or second, depending on the result of the Trenton-Lloydminster game later Thursday, while the Canadians finished winless in the round robin and will not play in Saturday’s semifinals.
Derek Lodermeier had the other goal for the Bandits, who closed their preliminary round with three consecutive wins after opening with a loss to Trenton last Saturday.
Jacob Moreau, Bryce Van Horn, Lucas Batt and Braedyn Asselstine did the scoring for Carleton Place, which had appeared in the national championship game in each of the last two seasons.
Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Canadians started fast, with Moreau poking in a loose puck that squeezed through Brooks goaltender Garret Hughson just 61 seconds in.
But Makar showed off slick hands to tie the game at 10:31, dancing out of the corner and sliding a shot past Canadians netminder Colton Point, and Malott gave the Bandits the lead for good just 12 seconds later, jumping all over a rebound in the slot.
He added his second goal at 12:27, going to the backhand to beat Point right off the face-off, before Van Horn cut the Canadians’ deficit to one at 14:43, driving hard to the net to slip a shot under Hughson.
Makar finished off a busy first period with 2:48 to go, faking a slap shot to freeze Point before snapping a quick shot past the Carleton Place goaltender for a two-goal Brooks lead after 20 minutes.
The offence quieted down in the second period, with just one goal added to the scoreboard; the Bandits moved the puck around on the power play before Lodermeier beat Point through traffic at 17:39.
Down three with one period left, the Canadians began to chip away at the deficit, starting with a Lucas Batt power-play goal at 6:26; he took a gorgeous pass from Brett Murray and went five-hole on Hughson.
Carleton Place put Point on the bench with more than four minutes to go, and Asselstine beat Hughson with a seeing-eye point shot with 1:02 left, setting up a tension-filled finish for both teams.
But the Bandits would hold on, and will wait for the preliminary round to finish before they find out who and when they play in the semifinals on Saturday, continuing their quest for a second national title.