Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) pitched a 22-save shutout, and Jakob Lee (Owen Sound, ON) had the game-winning goal in the second period, as the Brooks Bandits won their fifth AJHL championship in franchise history with a 2-0 win in Game 4 over the Spruce Grove Saints on Tuesday night, sweeping the series.
The Bandits are the fifth franchise in league history to win the title five separate times.
A back-and-forth scoreless first gave way to an even tighter second, but Brooks broke through on a late power play when Andrew Lucas (Alexandria, VA) deflected a puck to the slot that Lee was able to quickly fire home into an open Saints net to make it 1-0 Bandits.
In the third, Spruce Grove pressed, but the Bandits held the defending champions to just 7 shots. In the dying minutes, the Saints found Ryan Peckford alone in the slot off an offensive zone faceoff win, but Charleson sprung forward to make the save and preserve the lead.
With just three seconds left, William Lemay (Marieville, QC) won a battle along the half-wall and flung the puck down ice, sliding into the empty Saints net to finalize the win and sweep.
Defenceman Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) was named AJHL Playoff MVP in the post-game ceremony, then giving way to Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) who raised the Inter Pipeline Cup over his head as he was mobbed by his teammates, following in the footsteps of prior Bandit captains Cory Kloss, Cam Maclise, Derek Lodermeier, and Nick Prkusic in raising the AJHL trophy.
"We knew we had it; it was just a matter of playing that way," said Bandit captain Nathan Plessis after the game. "It feels really great, [and] super special to share with our great fans."
"We're not done yet," added goalie Pierce Charleson. "Spruce played us really hard; most of the games could've gone either way."
The Bandits now await the winner of the BCHL Final between the Prince George Spruce Kings and Vernon Vipers, the winner of which will now automatically qualify for the 2019 National Junior A Championship being hosted in Brooks.