BANDITS SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN TO BEAT BLADES IN NJAC OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
BROOKS, Alta. – Luke Bast scored two goals and set up another, and the Brooks Bandits used a five-goal first period to earn a 7-3 win over the Oakville Blades to wrap up the opening day Saturday at the 2019 National Junior A Championship.
Bast has scored in both games he has played at the tournament – as a 16-year-old affiliate at the 2017 event, he netted a goal in his lone appearance.
In all, the Bandits got goals from six different players and points from 13 to improve to 3-1 in tournament openers.
The scoring started very early, but it was the Blades who got the early advantage; off a lost face-off, Josh Nixon found a loose puck and beat Pierce Charleson from a sharp angle only 11 seconds in.
Brooks answered back with a pair of goals just 26 seconds apart – Bast stretched to poke in the 1-1 goal, and William Lemay tucked in a rebound – only for Thomas Maia to redirect a redirect past a helpless Charleson at 4:04.
Ryan Mahshie gave the hosts the lead for good with a power-play goal at 11:27, Mack Hancock went off the post and in 41 seconds after that and Nick Hale went bar-down on the short side at 16:25 to send Brooks to the intermission with five goals on 13 shots and a three-goal lead.
The scoring subsided in the second period, with each team netting once.
Maia got his second of the game on the power play just past the 11-minute mark when his shot hit a Brooks stick, ticked off the post and crept across the goal-line, but Bast drove hard to the net for his second late in the middle frame to make it a 6-3 game after 40 minutes.
Brandon Scanlin capped the scoring midway through the third period, stepping into a loose puck and hammering a shot past Oakville goaltender Will Barber.
The Bandits dominated the third period, outshooting the Blades 13-2. They had a 34-20 edge overall.
Brooks is back in action Sunday night against the Portage Terriers (7 p.m. MT), right after the Blades take on the Prince George Spruce Kings (2 p.m. MT).