Date:  Source: Ontario Junior A Hockey League

The hometown Bandits celebrate their National Junior A Championship win in Brooks, Alta. (Hockey Canada photo)

By Ron Valentine

The National Junior A Championship final today in Brooks, Alta between the hometown Bandits and British Columbia’s Prince George Spruce Kings. Both clubs were victorious by one goal in the semifinals with Brooks edging the Ottawa Jr. Senators 4-3 and the Spruce Kings getting past the Oakville Blades 2-1.

The Bandits have 10 Ontario-born players on their roster: Simon Boyko (Mississauga), Jakob Lee (Owen Sound), Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton), Jordan DiCicco (London), goalkeeper Pierce Charleson (Aurora), Wyatt Villalata and Mack Hancock (Kingston), Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek), Bobby Harrison (Waterdown) and Arnaud Vachon (Ajax).

They lose five players to overage: defenceman Carter Wolski and forwards William Lemay, Vachon, Jake Theis and Nathan Plessis. Prince George will lose Patrick Cozzi and Ben Brar along with blueliners Max Coyle and Jay Keranen. 

It was a good start for the home team with Boyko scoring early on a wraparound and Lemay lasering one home from the point and Plassis potted a rebound of his own at 13:20 and it's 3-0 for the Bandits, well in control. They outshot the Kings 16-5 in the first.

Cozzi got one back in the second for the Spruce Kings on the powerplay but with just under four minutes left Boyko connected again. After going goalless in four preliminary round games Boyko now has three in his last two games. Brar, who won the player of the game award for the Kings against Oakville, was sent off for a five minute checking from behind major soon after their goal. 4-1 after 40 minutes with the Bandits' fans getting ready to celebrate. 

Nick Poisson's sixth goal of the tournament to lead all players, midway through the third frame got the Spruce Kings to within two. Nick, just 17, has a bright future ahead of him. Elder brother and team captain Ben already has his ticket booked to the University of Maine. One last push by Prince George saw a goal with 45 seconds left from Nolan Welsh for the final 4-3 scoreline. A good third from the BCHL club but just a step to far to go into extra time.

The Bandits' total season record: 77 wins, 9 losses and an overtime loss.