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Bandits edge Crusaders in meeting of top two nationally ranked teams

BROOKS, AB (January 25, 2020) – The Brooks Bandits (40-5-1) got their revenge on the Sherwood Park Crusaders, skating to a 2-1 victory over the North Division leaders at the Centennial Regional Arena on Saturday. It was the second time in 7 days the top two ranked teams in the country met, with Brooks falling 7-4 a week ago in Sherwood Park.

Bandit goaltender Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) led the way with a 28 saves on 29 shots, while forwards Sean Chisholm (Caledonia, ON) and Randy Hernandez (Miami, FL) scored the two Bandit goals. Crusaders goaltender Carter Gylander made 16 saves on 18 Bandit shots.

The win extends Brooks lead for first in the South Division to two points over Okotoks with a game in hand, while the Crusaders fall back three points of the Bandits.

The 1st period saw one goal, and it came with 17 seconds left in the frame. Chisholm blasted in a shot from the slot, thanks to a costly Crusader turnover from the corner, leaving the forward wide open to fire in his 3rd goal against the Crusaders this season.

The 2nd period saw no goals, but terrific goaltending. Charleson denied the AJHL leading goal scorer Carter Savoie twice on a breakaway to preserve the lead.

Brooks went up 2-0 thanks to a Hernandez powerplay goal at 3:55, as he went top shelf over Hernandez. The Bandits penalty kill was tested 6 times in the 3rd period and stymied the visiting Cru. However, with 3 minutes to go in regulation, forward Chris Pappas was called for delay of game on a faceoff infraction, leading to a Sherwood Park powerplay goal from William Zapernick to cut the lead to 2-1.

That was the closest the Crusaders would get, as Brooks held on for the 2-1 win, their 53rd straight regular season home win.

The Bandits continue their home stand on Wednesday, January 29th, when they host the Okotoks Oilers for JBS Canada night. Game time is 6:30 PM, live on Real Country 105.7 FM.

Photo: Em Duncan