DRUMHELLER, AB (March 3, 2018) – In a game that was meaningless from a standings perspective, the Brooks Bandits (45-14-1) weren't able to finish the regular season on a winning note, falling 3-2 to the Dragons in Drumheller on Saturday night.
Pierre-Anthony Martineau (Sherbrooke, QC) scored both the Bandit goals three minutes apart early in the second period, while goaltender Connor Dochuk (Edmonton, AB) made 26 saves in the loss.
Drumheller scored the first period's only goal off an Andrew Kartusch shot that found forward Slater Dykema, who stuffed it past Dochuk at the 5:49 mark. Just over seven minutes after the goal, a fight broke out at centre ice between Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON) and Kaden Hanas of the Dragons that saw a plethora of punches and uppercuts land that got every fan on their feet.
The Bandits started the second period strong with the two quick goals. The first from Martineau came 90 seconds into the period, as he scored five-hole on Dragons netminder Dane Dow after a big rebound off a Brandon Scanlin shot. Captain Dennis Cesana got the second assist, which means he ties the team record for points by a defenceman in a season (75) set by Cale Makar last year. Three minutes later, the Dragons turned the puck over to Martineau in their own end, and the Bandit forward fired it into the net to give Brooks a 2-1 lead.
The lead didn't hold for long, as the Dragons tied the game 2-2 at the 8:24 mark as Tyler Kreklewich burst into the Bandit zone and roofed the puck past Dochuk on the powerplay. Just over five minutes later, Dragons forward Jordan Taupert gave Drumheller a 3-2 lead on a breakaway goal that went top shelf.
Despite outshooting Drumheller 9-7 in the third frame, Brooks couldn't beat Dow as the period cruised to the finish.
The Bandits finished 2nd in the South Division and will face the Canmore Eagles in the first round of the AJHL Playoffs in a best-of-five series. Game 1 goes Thursday at the Centennial Regional Arena at 7:00 pm, with tickets available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.