Bandits complete wild 4-3 comeback win over Crusaders in 2023 Home Opener

Photo by Davin Beer.

BROOKS, AB (September 22, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits continued their streak of never losing at the CRA to the Sherwood Park Crusaders, winning a dramatic 4-3 comeback Home Opener on Friday at the Centennial Regional Arena.

Hunter Wallace scored twice, Danylo Korzhyletskyi scored the eventual game winning goal, and goaltender Johnny Hicks (Kamloops, BC) made 26 saves in front of 1,488 fans. Prior to puck drop, four banners were unveiled, 2022-23 Regular Season Champions, 2023 South Division Champions, 2023 AJHL Champions and 2023 Centennial Cup Champions, which was accompanied by a video featuring alumni Ethan Barwick, Heath Armstrong, Brendan Poshak and Dario Beljo.

Wallace (Oak Lake, MB) opened the scoring at 4:49, taping in a shortside, backhander to make it 1-0. The Bandits doubled the lead at 9:54, as forward Mirko Buttazzoni (Langley, BC) scored on a shortside, wrist-shot to make it 2-0. However, the Crusaders would score three unanswered goals, as Hunter Price one-timed a goal at 12:21 to cut the lead to 2-1, the score after 20 minutes.

In the 2nd period, the Crusaders had back-to-back goals from Logan Hauer at :18 and another Price goal at 4:12 to give Sherwood the 3-2 lead. Brooks outshot Sherwood Park 18-8 in the period.

Early in the 3rd period, Buttazzoni had a penalty shot awarded after a Crusader covered the puck in his crease with his glove. However, he was denied by a right pad save from Erick Roest. The Bandits tied the game at 15:16, with Wallace cleaned up a loose puck on a netfront scramble to make it 3-3. Just 19 seconds later, Korzhyletskyi (Kyiv, UA) shelved a pass from Logan Sawyer (Calgary, AB) to give Brooks the 4-3 lead. Despite Sherwood Park emptying the net for the extra attacker, they were unable to tie.

The Bandits (3-1) host the Whitecourt Wolverines (0-2-1) on Saturday, September 23rd at the CRA. Game time is 7:00 pm.