BROOKS, AB (March 4, 2017) – The Brooks Bandits (51-5-4) became just the fifth team in Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) history to register 51 wins in a season, downing the Camrose Kodiaks 6-3 to end their regular season at the Centennial Regional Arena.
The year ranks fourth in terms of wins in AJHL history, tied with the 1987-88 Calgary Canucks. It’s also the fourth-fewest regulation losses in a season.
Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) opened the scoring just 2:04 into the game, tipping a Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) power play point shot. O’Connor himself then doubled the Bandit lead at 11:54, tipping a backdoor pass from Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) on the team’s second power play. Then, with just under three minutes left in the first, Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) wove his way from the right circle to the slot and fired a top right corner wrister past goalie Joseph May to give Brooks a 3-0 lead after the first.
In the second, Slater Strong got Camrose on the board on a one-time shot from the slot at 4:31 on a Kodiak power play, though Makar responded with just 1:28 left in the period, skating to the net off a faceoff and sneaking a short side shot past May.
In the third, Camrose drew closer 5:22 in when Jacob Kendall’s shot from the right corner was saved by goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON), but bounced back to the slot where Kendall chased down his own rebound and whacked the second-chance opportunity home
But just over a minute later, a shot by Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) from the left circle off the rush snuck by May to make it 5-2 Bandits.
A Ryan Hartman shot from the right hashmarks at 8:55 made it a two-goal game once again, but the Bandits capped off the scoring with an Oliver Chau backdoor one-timer at the right circle on the power play at 11:26 to notch the 6-3 final score.
The goal was Chau’s eighteenth power play goal of the season, setting a new franchise record and breaking the previous mark of 17 set by Curtis Glencross.
In addition, Mitch Benson’s .929 save percentage set a new franchise record, breaking Chad Johnson’s record of .923 set in 2003-04.
The Bandits will have nearly two weeks off before their next game, hosting Game 1 of the AJHL South Division Semi-Final on Friday, March 17th at the CRA at 7:00 PM. Playoff ticket packages are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.
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