PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man.– The Brooks Bandits have won the 2023 Centennial Cup, claiming Canada’s 51st National Junior A Championship with a 4-0 win over the Battlefords North Stars on Sunday at Stride Place.
With the win, Brooks become the first team to win three consecutive national titles. It claimed the 2019 championship on home ice, and made it back-to-back title last year in Estevan, Sask. The tournament was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the Bandits have won a record 18 straight games at the tournament.
Hudson Malinoski (Saskatoon, Sask.) scored twice as part of a four-goal second period. Malinoski, Hunter Wallace (Oak Lake, Man.) and Heath Armstrong (Calgary, Alta.) scored goals in a span of 97 seconds midway through the second period to break open a scoreless game.
“This is an amazing feeling,” said Wallace, who finished with a goal and an assist. “Nobody has every three-peated before. I’m going to steal a line from our captain last year, who said ‘This is Brooks Bandits hockey, and this is what we do.’ I’m proud of this group, we knew the Stars were going to battle hard tonight and once we got one, we knew we were in control.”
Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, Alta.)made 30 saves for his second-consecutive shutout; he stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 3-0 semifinal win over the Ottawa Jr. Senators on Saturday.Brooks is the first team to ever post shutouts in the semifinal and championship game, and Barwick – who won his third national title – closed the tournament by not allowing a goal in his final 153 minutes of action.
“Every time you win it feels a little different,” said Brooks head coach Ryan Papaioannou. “I think last year’s win was a bit more stressful just with how the game went, but this one I feel like we controlled the third period very well. As coaches, we just sat back and trusted our guys to get the job done.”
Full game stats and story are available HERE on the Hockey Canada website.
Brooks finished first in the preliminary round in Group A with a perfect 4-0 record. It defeated the Yarmouth Mariners (7-2), Jr. Senators (5-1), Timmins Rock (9-1) and Cobras de Terrebonne (6-1) before its semifinal win over Ottawa.
The Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League will play host to the 52nd edition of the National Junior A Championship in May 2024, with final dates and format still to be finalized.
For more information: