The Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) are delighted to announce that 2000-born goaltender Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) has committed to attend and play for Michigan State University.
Located in East Lansing, Michigan, the Michigan State Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference, under third-year head coach Danton Cole.
“Pierce is very deserving of this opportunity,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “He plays an efficient game, with no panic, giving our players the confidence to play in front of him. His work ethic is fantastic, and he is well liked by everyone around him.”
The 6’2”, 181lb goalie is coming off an outstanding rookie Junior A campaign, in which he was named to the AJHL South All-League Team and named a finalist for the league’s Top Goaltender award. He was the Bandits’ Rookie of the Year after recording the second-most wins for a goaltender in a season in franchise history, going 42-2 with a .913 save percentage and 2.16 goals against average.
His goals against average ranked second among goalies with at least a third of a season played, while his save percentage ranked ninth. Playing the second-most minutes in the AJHL (2,642 over 44 games), he also recorded 14 more wins than any other goalie in the league. He shared the AJHL Top Team Goaltenders Award, awarded to the goalies playing for the team with the top-ranked defence.
After allowing only 43 goals in 20 subsequent playoff starts with the Bandits, and earning the team’s fifth league championship, he played all 360 minutes of the Bandits’ games during the National Junior A Championship, going an undefeated 6-0 and allowing only 14 goals en route to the team’s top finish in the nation. In total, he won 62 of the 70 games he started in his rookie season.
“Credit also goes to our goaltending coach Matt Wong, who spent countless hours on and off the ice working with Pierce to complete his game,” Papaioannou added. “We are all excited for Pierce’s accomplishments, and look forward to another season with him in a Bandits uniform.”
Prior to his time in Brooks, Charleson recorded the best goals against average in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) with the Caledonia Corvairs, en route to a league final appearance. He went 18-1 with a .921 save percentage and 1.53 GAA, sharing his conference’s Most Valuable Goaltender award.
Charleson is expected to the be a centrepiece of the Bandits’ 2019-20 national title defence, which begins August 26th with exhibition play against the Okotoks Oilers at the Centennial Regional Arena. Season tickets are currently on sale at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.