Preview: AJHL Final begins this weekend in Brooks as Bandits battle Saints for league championship

The Brooks Bandits quest for a sixth AJHL Championship continues this weekend as they face-off with the rival Spruce Grove Saints in the 2022 AJHL Inter Pipeline Cup Final.

Brooks has home-ice advantage and will host Game 1 and 2 this Friday (April 29) and Saturday (April 30) at the Centennial Regional Arena. Both games start at 7:00 pm.

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Brooks finished 1st in the AJHL in the regular season with 106 points, Spruce Grove topped the North Division with 97 points. Both teams swept their way to the Final, Brooks beat Canmore in four games, outscoring the Eagles 31-9, followed by a sweep of Okotoks in the South Final, outscoring the Oilers 20-7. The Saints swept the Whitecourt Wolverines and then the Drayton Valley Thunder to win the North Division.

Bandits forward Noah Hackett previews the 2022 AJHL Final:

The Bandits and Saints met three times in the 2021-22 Regular Season, with Brooks winning two of them and dropping one in a shootout. They first met at the 2021 AJHL Showcase in Brooks on October 1, with Devin Phillips scoring a go-ahead goal to break a 3-3 tie in the 3rd period en route to a 6-4 Bandits win. The two rivals met again on November 13 in Spruce Grove, a wild game that saw Brooks erase a 4-1 deficit and force overtime. The game ended in a four-round shootout, with the Saints edging the Bandits 5-4. It was the only shootout the Bandits participated in during the 2021-22 season. Finally, the Bandits hosted the Saints on December 11; Noah Hackett scored the game-winner, TJ Hughes had a hat trick, and Ryan McAllister tallied four points in a 5-3 Brooks win.

Bandits goaltender Ethan Barwick discusses his recent commitment to Lindenwood and previews 2022 AJHL Final:

The Bandits and Saints have previously met in four AJHL Finals. The Bandits defeated the Saints in five games in 2013, which to this day is the only time the Bandits won an AJHL Championship on home ice. Brooks won the 2013 RBC Cup that same year. They met again in 2015, with the Saints taking the series in five games. Brooks got revenge the following year, beating Spruce Grove in five games in 2016.

The Bandits bested the Saints again in 2019, sweeping Spruce in four games en route to winning the National Junior A Championship on home ice.
Since 2010, the Bandits and Saints have won five league championships each. An AJHL Champion hasn’t been crowned since 2019 due to COVID-19.

The winner of the 2022 AJHL Final will clinch a spot in the 2022 Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, which will be held May 19-29 in Estevan, SK.

AJHL Final Schedule if necessary

  • Game 1: Friday, April 29 @ Brooks
  • Game 2: Saturday, April 30 @ Brooks
  • Game 3: Tuesday, May 3 @ Spruce Grove
  • Game 4: Wednesday, May 4 @ Spruce Grove
  • Game 5: Saturday, May 7 @ Brooks
  • Game 6: Tuesday, May 10 @ Spruce Grove
  • Game 7: Friday, May 13 @ Brooks

All games at 7:00 pm