By Jason La Rose, Hockey Canada
BROOKS, Alta. – Luke Bast scored two goals and set up another, and the Brooks Bandits (AJHL) used a five-goal first period to earn a 7-3 win over the Oakville Blades (OJHL) 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).
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images