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Junior B Bandits back in action

By October 7, 2022No Comments
Classic Oilfield Lloydminster Junior B Bandits’ forward Ben Rawluk moves the puck up ice on Friday night at the Centennial Civic Centre against the St. Paul Canadiens. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source

 

For local players and fans, it’s the most wonderful time of year as hockey returns to the Border City.

The Classic Oilfield Lloydminster Junior B Bandits, playing out of the North Eastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League, were back in action over the weekend as they hosted the St. Paul Canadiens for home-opener action at the Centennial Civic Centre on Saturday night. 

After travelling to Killam the night before and suffering a 3-0 loss to the Wheat Kings, the Bandits took to the ice on Saturday with confidence and thirst only a win could quench.

With a storied history between the two teams, Saturday night’s gameplay was high-paced and very physical.

The Bandits opened up the scoring at 8:50 in the first frame, a goal that would go unanswered until the 18:48 mark in the second period.

The Bandits would take a 2-1 lead roughly nine minutes later before St. Paul potted two more goals for a 3-2 final.

Despite the two losses, head coach Jason Ross is looking forward to seeing what this year’s team is capable of.

“Things this year are looking up, for sure,” he said. 

“We’ve got a good core group of ’04 kids that moved up from U18 last year. We did some scouting and recruiting this summer and we got a good young core to build around.

“Being competitive in our first two games against two of the more elite teams in our league, so things are looking good.”

With opening weekend in the books, Ross has confidence this year’s team has what it takes to make an impact statement or two in the league.

“Our team goal, I’d say, is to finish top-four in the league,” he said. “We want to be hosting Game 1 of a playoff series no matter what the case may be.

“We have a young group so there’s learning curves, which we noticed in the first two games, but we have confidence in our core group.”

The Bandits return to the Civic Centre tonight as they host the Onion Lake Border Chiefs at 7:30 p.m. The Bandits then host the Cold Lake Ice at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday before a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee game against the Vegreville Rangers.