Photo: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
COBOURG, ON – Resting five key players, the Brooks Bandits (3-1) fell 5-2 to the host Cobourg Cougars in the final round robin game of the 2017 RBC Cup on Thursday night, clinching 2nd place in the round robin standings for the second consecutive year.
The Bandits will take on the 3rd-place Terrebonne Cobras in the late semi-final on Saturday, beginning at 5:30 PM Alberta time (7:30 PM in Cobourg).
With Brooks not needing a win, the team scratched goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON), star defenceman Cale Makar (Calgary, AB), captain Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB), and forwards Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) and Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB).
In their stead, the Bandits gave Alex Horawski (Toronto, ON) his first start since February, with affiliate Ryan Baker (Calgary, AB) backing up, with brothers Ocean and Orca Wiesblatt (Calgary, AB) dressed alongside affiliates Louis Jamernik (Calgary, AB) and Luke Bast (Red Deer, AB).
Cobourg got the only goal of the first period on a power play point shot by Brennan Roy, and doubled the lead in the opening minute of the second on a wrister off the rush by Connor MacEachern.
But the Bandits battled back, with Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) slapping in a goal from the right point to make it 2-1. Cesana finished the tournament second in scoring with 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists).
Bast scored his first Junior A goal on a screen shot from the right circle to tie the game at 2 at the 5:57 mark, but it was all Cobourg from there. Former Bandit Jesse Baird scored the game-winner at 16:57 on a power play wrister from the slot, before George Miranda tapped in a rebound goal at 18:04 to make it 4-2.
Cobourg got the only goal of the third, a rebound goal for Spencer Roberts after a breakaway stop by Horawski, to notch the 5-2 final score. The Cougars outshot the Bandits 30-27, going 2 for 7 on the power play while Brooks was 0 for 9 with the man advantage.
Pre-game coverage of the team’s semi-final match up with Terrebonne begins at 5:00 PM Alberta time on Saturday on Real Country 105.7.