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
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
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 on the 2023 Centennial Cup, please visit
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