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Bandits erase two-goal deficit, rally with four unanswered in 5-3 win in Drumheller

DRUMHELLER, AB (January 3, 2022) – The Brooks Bandits erased a 3-1 deficit, rallying in a 5-3 dramatic win over the Drumheller Dragons at the Memorial Arena on Tuesday.

Brooks (35-3-2) scored twice shorthanded, and Dario Beljo (Sudbury, ON) broke the 3-3 tie at 8:55 of the 3rd period with the eventual game winner on a top-shelf, backhander. Goaltender Ethan Barwick (St. Albert, AB) made 24 saves for the win, the Bandits third straight victory.

Aiden Fink (Calgary, AB) opened the scoring late in the 1st period on a Bandits penalty kill, forcing Dragons starter Garrett Fuller to turn over the puck and scoring on the open net to make it 1-0 Brooks with only 44 seconds left in the frame.

Drumheller scored three unanswered in the 2nd period, as defenceman Ryan Hendersen shelved a right circle shot at 4:02 to tie the game 1-1. Forward Kai Matthew cleaned up a loose puck at 6:16 to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead, followed by a Ty Whitford goal after a Bandit penalty kill expired to make it 3-1 at 13:58. With just over two minutes remaining in the period, and on the PK, Caelan Fitzpatrick (Moose Jaw, SK) blocked a shot and turned the play the other direction, holding off a backchecker and scoring a forehand on Fuller to cut the Drumheller lead to 3-2.

The Bandits dominated the 3rd period with 17 shots on net, tying the game at 6:46 as defenceman Ethan O’Halloran (Calgary, AB) knocked in a loose puck. Beljo’s go-ahead goal came soon after at 8:55, as he took a Fink pass on the powerplay at the goal line, turned and backhander the 4-3 goal. The Dragons emptied the net for the extra attacker to try to equalize, but Fitzpatrick would score an empty netter at 19:24 to seal the 5-3 win. Final shots were 45-27 Brooks.

The Bandits head on a North Division road trip this weekend, starting Friday, January 6 in Fort McMurray at 7:30 pm. Then, they visit the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Saturday, January 7 at 7:00 pm. Listen to both games with live play-by-play on Real Country 105.7 FM.