Bast leads defensive charge, Bandits crush Blades in NJAC opener

By Scott Roblin
May 11, 2019 - 11:29pm

BROOKS, AB – Scoring from the back end was hard to come by for the Brooks Bandits in their Doyle Cup loss, but it came back with a vengeance in their opening game of the National Junior ‘A’ Championship.

University of North Dakota commit Luke Bast scored a pair of goals on Saturday night, while the Bandits blueline combined for four goals in 7-3 victory over the OJHL’s Oakville Blades.

Kicking off the national championship on home ice, the host Bandits found themselves trailing just 11 seconds into the game after Oakville’s Josh Nixon picked up a loose puck and scored unassisted.

That turned a switch for the Bandits however, with Bast and William Lemay scoring a pair of goals 26 seconds apart shortly afterwards to put Brooks out in front 2-1.

But just over 30 seconds after Lemay’s go-ahead marker, the Blades found the tying goal off a redirected shot from Thomas Maia to beat Pierce Charleson.

Just past the midway mark of the period and with a Blades player in the box, Brooks regained the lead with a power play mark from Ryan Mahshie, which was followed up just a few seconds later courtesy of Mack Hancock to make it a 4-2 contest.

Offence from Bandits defenders continued with 3:35 left in a wild first frame, as Nick Hale juked an Oakville defender out of his skates before wristing home his first of the tournament short side.

Oakville was able to cut the deficit to 5-3 a little over 11 minutes into the second period with a deflected shot from Maia, but the Bandits would get back to their scoring ways before the end of the frame.

Bast was able to pick up the puck in the attacking zone with one minute left on the clock, carried the puck to the net and fired his second of the night past Will Barber for the highlight-reel effort.

Brooks added another goal on the power play in the third period off a point shot from Brandon Scanlin, taking their opening game of the National Junior ‘A’ Championship by a 7-3 final.

Spreading out the attack, 13 members of the Bandits found the score sheet on Saturday with Bast leading the way with a three-point performance.

Charleson picked up the win with 17 saves on 20 shots, while Barber was peppered with 34 shots on the night in the Oakville crease.

Getting their first win out of the way, Brooks will be back on the Centennial Regional Arena ice on Sunday night at 7:00 pm to face former Bandits Ocean and Orca Wiesblatt and the Portage Terriers.

Senators shut out Terriers

Francis Boisvert was at the top of his game for the CCHL’s Ottawa Junior Senators on Saturday afternoon, earning a 20-save shutout in the first game of the National Junior ‘A’ Challenge.

Ottawa’s Darcy Walsh scored the tournament’s opening goal 1:14 into the first period, which held up as the game-winner in a 3-0 victory over the MJHL’s Portage Terriers.

Élie Boulerice and Kyle Jackson also added goals for the Junior Senators, who moved to a 1-0 record and are tied for top spot in the tournament standings along with the Bandits.

Ottawa will take a day off on Sunday, with their next contest scheduled for Monday night against the Doyle Cup champion Prince George Spruce Kings.

Sun Devils settle for Saturday split in B.C.