KARLSTAD, Sweden – The defending Centennial Cup-champion Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) have won the U20 Super Challenge following a 8-3 win over France on Sunday at Lofbergs Arena, ending a dominant five-game run at the tournament where they never trailed.
Brooks built a 4-0 lead in the 1st period, and despite France scoring three straight in the 2nd, the Bandits put the game away in the 3rd period. Goaltender Brendan Holahan (New Canaan, Conn.) made 21 saves for the win, and was named the Tournament’s Top Goaltender. Defenceman Quinn McCall (St. John, Ind.) was named the Tournament’s Top Defenceman.
Bandits defenceman Mathieu Taillefer (Richelieu, Que.) opened the scoring at 8:33, scoring on a wrist shot from the right point to make it 1-0. The Bandits doubled their lead at 9:06, as forward Dylan Lariviere (Welland, Ont.) gained the French zone and zipped a forehand shot that handcuffed France starter Antoine Keller and trickled past the goal line to make it 2-0. Forward Caelan Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, Sask.) tipped a Mirko Buttazzoni shot at 11:31 to make it 3-0, forcing France to call a timeout. The Bandits added more damage late in the period, as McCall dangled two defenders and fired in a forehand shot to make it 4-0 at 18:43.
Brooks came out firing in the 2nd, but were unable to solve Keller. France were sparked by a power play, as Mattis Chapuis, Emil Tavernier and Mathis Defour scored three consecutive goals to make it a 4-3 heading to intermission.
The Bandits would not be denied in the 3rd, as Buttazzoni (Langley, B.C.) fired in a shot just 1:55 into the frame to give Brooks some insurance.
Less than a minute later, forward Nathan Free (Calgary, Alta.) zipped a top shelf shot from the right circle to make it 6-3. The floodgates opened from there, as forward Nic DeGraves (Edmonton, Alta.) deked out the goaltender and slid a forehand shot in to make it 7-3.
The final nail came from defenceman Dylan Compton (Victoria, B.C.), who went top shelf to make it 8-3, the final.
Brooks out shot France 48-24.
The Bandits went 5-0 at the U20 Super Challenge, outscoring their opponents 32-9.