2019 njac brooks feature jan 29
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If it ain’t broke…

The Brooks Bandits have kept the moves to a minimum while putting together a record-setting run amidst one of the best seasons in AJHL history

Jason La Rose
January 31, 2019

Who says change is a good thing?

The Brooks Bandits – who will host the National Junior A Championship this spring – are positioning themselves as one of the best teams in Alberta Junior Hockey League history, and they’re doing it with largely the same roster they have had all season.

The CJHL national trade deadline on Jan. 10 came and went without the Bandits making a single move. The last trade Brooks made was sending little-used forward Orca Wiesblatt to the Portage Terriers on Dec. 1, and the last significant transactions were adding forward Randy Hernandez and goaltender Tanner Marshall on Nov. 29.

Those two moves have worked out quite nicely – Hernandez, a product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, has 19 points in as many games, and Marshall is a perfect 7-0 with three shutouts in a back-up role.

But overall, the Bandits haven’t had to change much; as the regular season enters the home stretch, they are a ridiculous 43-3, 15 points better than any other team in Alberta and 21 points clear of Okotoks in the South Division.

The No. 1 ranked team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League for most of the season, Brooks has scored 255 goals (54 more than anyone else), allowed 103 (11 fewer than anyone else) and has five of the top 20 scorers in the AJHL.

So far, so good.

It’s easy to forget the Bandits started their season with an 11-3 loss on the road in Drumheller, especially when you look at how the rest of the schedule has unfolded.

Brooks has just a pair of one-goal defeats on its record since opening night – a 4-3 loss to the Spruce Grove Saints on Oct. 27 (a game the Bandits led with less than nine minutes left), and a 4-3 setback against the Calgary Mustangs on Nov. 27.

They are on pace to challenge their own league records for wins (53) and points (109) in a season, both set during the 2012-13 campaign that ended with the Bandits hoisting the RBC Cup for the first time.

First, a little bit of history is on tap this week; a 10-6 win over the Canmore Eagles on Tuesday was the Bandits’ 20th in a row, equalling the franchise record. They will look to set a new mark, and get within three of the AJHL record (24, set by Okotoks last season), when they face Olds at Centennial Regional Arena Friday night.

It has certainly been home sweet home at the CRA, where the Bandits are a perfect 23-0, outscoring their opponents 129-44, with 17 of those wins coming by at least three goals.

That’s bad news for the four regional champions who will gather for the National Junior A Championship beginning May 11, where the Bandits will look to become the fourth host team in five years to lay claim to the national title.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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