In a season where the Battlefords North Stars were head and shoulders above everyone in the SJHL, the team ran into a dynasty at the 2023 Centennial Cup.
The 2022-23 Brooks Bandits of the AJHL made it three championships in a row, as they defeated the SJHL champions 4-0 in the Centennial Cup final in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba Sunday afternoon.
The Bandits powerhouse went 53-5-2 in regular season play, and knocked off the Spruce Grove Saints four games to one to take home the AJHL championship on their way to the Centennial Cup. The team went 12-3 in their AJHL playoff run.
The North Stars meanwhile, swept the Flin Flon Bombers in the Canterra Seeds Cup final series, and went 12-1 in the SJHL playoffs to reach the Centennial Cup.
After a scoreless first period, the Bandits got two goals from Hudson Malinoski and one each from Hunter Wallace and Heath Armstrong in the second period to ice the game.
Josh Kotai was the star of the game for Battlefords, making countless big saves to keep the score respectable. The future Augustana University product made 37 saves for the North Stars in a losing effort.
Ethan Barwick stopped all 30 shots he faced in the Brooks net. The Bandits surrendered just four goals in six games in the tournament.