Bandits drop season opener 11-3 in Drumheller

DRUMHELLER, AB (September 14, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (0-1) stumbled to start the 2018-19 campaign on Friday night, as the Drumheller Dragons (1-0) scored three times in the first, and four times in each of the second and third en route to an 11-3 win at the Drumheller Memorial Arena.

It was the widest margin of loss for the Bandits since November 25, 2008, when the team lost 12-3 in Okotoks to the Oilers, a year in which the Bandits nonetheless went on to win the AJHL South Division for the first time in franchise history.

The Bandits actually outshot the Dragons 34-33 in the game, but the Dragons went 4 for 5 on the power play while killing off 5 of 6 Bandit man advantages.

Kaden Hanas opened the scoring for the Dragons on a breakaway just 3:08 into the game, before Shane Ott doubled the lead on a wrister from the left circle at 10:25. Brooks got on the board when Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) got the first goal of the season at the net front, tipping home a Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, BC) feed from the right corner. But with 7 seconds left in the period, Jordan Taupert put the Dragons up 3-1 off a scramble at the side of the net.

Drumheller carried that momentum into the middle frame, scoring four more times despite being outshot 13-10. Brayden Nicholetts and Scout Truman tapped home backdoor feeds, before Brooks went on a 5-minute penalty kill when Jakob Lee (Owen Sound, ON) was ejected for dropping his gloves in a tussle with Brady Risk of the Dragons. Drumheller converted twice, with Bradley Stonnell hammering in a point shot off a Brooks defender’s stick and in, and Risk capping off the second period scoring at the 17:01 mark.

In the third, Mack Hancock (Kingston, ON) dangled around a defender and flipped a wrister by Drumheller goalie Hunter Virostek to pull Brooks within five, but Adam Heindel responded for Drumheller with a point shot goal just over a minute later to make it 8-2. Brett Edwards and Taupert scored just over two minutes apart to hit double digits for the home side, and while Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) tipped home a Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) shot on the power play at 10:46, the Dragons had the last goal when Roc Truman scored on the power play with less than five minutes left.

Bandits goalie Max Wright (Waterloo, ON) stopped 22 of 33 shots while Virostek stopped 31 of 34.

The Bandits will have Saturday off before resuming the season on Sunday afternoon in Calgary against the Canucks. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 2:45 PM on Real Country 105.7.