SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Sports – Mark Reners’ second goal of the game 8:30 into overtime was the difference as the Brooks Bandits (AJHL) rallied from a two-tally deficit to edge the Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) 5-4 in semifinal No. 1 Saturday at the Royal Bank Cup Canadian national junior A championship in Summerside, P.E.I.
With the victory the Bandits will now meet the winner of tonight’s other semifinal between the Surrey Eagles (BCHL) and the host Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) in Sunday’s Royal Bank Cup championship game at 7 p.m. AT. That contest will be broadcast on TSN on a tape–delay basis starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Wilderness Finish Season at RBC Cup
Taking advantage of the first of four power play opportunities they were awarded in the opening period, Brooks got on the board first as Reners beat Gordy Defiel in the Minnesota net 4:08 in for the only goal of the stanza.
The Wilderness pulled even early in the middle frame as Jordan Shockley connected at 3:53.
Conrad Sampair then put the SIJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion on top 44 seconds later as his effort eluded Michael Fredrick making it 2-1 Minnesota.
Using the man advantage once again the Bandits evened the score as a R.J. Reed right point blast hit the post and in to level the proceedings at 13:13.
Answering right back the Wilderness retook the lead two minutes later as SIJHL player of the year and playoff MVP Mike Dietrich’s harmless looking attempt from deep in the right side corner towards the net somehow squeezed its way between Fredrick’s pad and the post and in.
They then made it a 4-2 game with just 12 seconds left in the stanza as during a two-man advantage Dietrich teed up Nick McCormack in the high slot who unleashed a hard shot from the high slot.
Power play tally No. 3 on the afternoon allowed Brooks to pull within one as Reed notched his second of the game early in final session.
Then with just 18.7 seconds left in regulation, and with Fredrick pulled in favour of an extra attacker, the Bandits notched a fortunate equalizer to force extra time as Dakota Mason chipped the puck in front directly from behind the net that deflected off the skate of a Wilderness defender and into an open net as a sprawled Defiel was caught outside of his crease.
In the extra session Reners completed the comeback as he found himself wide open in front for an extended time and once fed the puck, quickly snapped the game-winner high to the right over Defiel’s shoulder to send the AJHL champs to the title game.
Final shots on goal favoured with Brooks by a 29-36 margin with Reed and Sampair earning their respective player of the game nods.