BROOKS, AB - The Brooks Bandits (54-3) became the first team in Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) history to win 54 games in a single season, downing the Camrose Kodiaks 6-2 at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
The record of 53 wins had previously been held by the 2012-13 Bandits, who won the team’s only national championship.
The win also extended the team’s league-record winning streak to 30 games, and made the Bandits the first team in league history to post a 29-0 home record.
The game was the team’s annual Charity Jersey Night, with the players wearing special lego-themed jerseys which were auctioned off to raise thousands for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Randy Hernandez (Miami, FL) opened the scoring 3:25 into the game when he sped into the Camrose zone on a breakaway and swept a forehand shot by goalie Griffin Bowerman to make it 1-0. With 7 seconds left in the first, Jakob Lee (Owen Sound, ON) scored from the front of the net on the power play to double the lead.
Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) scored from the right circle 10:20 into the second on the power play for his team-leading 32nd of the year and a 3-0 lead, before Robert Kincaid beat Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) on a long shot from the high slot at 16:39 to get Camrose on the board. But Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) scored on a wraparound in the final minutes of the second to reclaim a 3-goal advantage for Brooks.
Camrose drew closer 5:29 into the third when Jacob Kendall scored from the slot. But Bobby Harrison (Waterdown, ON) tapped in a rebound goal at 7:58, Lee dropped the gloves with Cam McAdam in a short but furious fight that brought the crowd to a roar at 9:01, Taylor Makar (Calgary, AB) was tossed after a series of hits and a fight with Deklan Whillans of the Kodiaks, and Simon Gravel (Boucherville, QC) capped off the scoring with 1:31 left on a spinning shot from the slot to notch the 6-2 final.
The Bandits will attempt to continue their record-setting season on Saturday night when they visit Calgary to take on the Canucks. Puck drop is at 7 PM with pre-game coverage on Real Country 105.7 at 6:45.
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