OKOTOKS, AB (August 28, 2015) – Despite a late goal by Ryan Harper, the Brooks Bandits (1-1) fell just short in their attempt to come back from an early deficit against the Calgary Mustangs (1-1), who downed Brooks 6-5 in the Bandits’ second preseason game at the Okotoks Oilers’ annual tournament on Friday night.
Ryan Rebelato opened the scoring just over halfway through the opening frame, and was followed up late in the period by Bryan Huck, giving the Bandits a 2-0 deficit through 20 minutes and a 9-7 shot deficit.
In the second, a Bandit comeback appeared to be in the offing, as Kyler Nachtigall scored on a setup from Cale Makar to get the Bandits on the board at the 3:36 mark, while just over 4 minutes later, a shorthanded breakway created by a turnover forced by Dylan McCrory led to the tying goal for Brooks.
But the Mustangs reclaimed the two goal deficit in fairly short order; first, on a Vincent Paquette goal just over halfway through the game, and secondly on Franco Colapaulo goal with just under five minutes on the second period clock. With shots even 10-10, the Bandits trailed 19-17 in that department as well.
In the third, the Bandits outshot the Mustangs 19-11, but couldn’t quite finish the comeback effort. Rebelato’s second of the game made it 5-2 Calgary at the four minute mark, but just under two minutes later, Hayden Ursulak received a pass from Makar and finished the opportunity to cut the deficit to 2 for Brooks. Austin Wright brought the team to within one with his fourth goal of the pre-season with just under five minutes left, but less than a minute later, Rebelato completed the hat trick to make it 6-4.
While Harper’s first goal as a Bandit with 58 seconds left made for a thrilling finish, the Mustangs held on for their first win of the exhibition campaign.
Mustangs forward Jordan Xavier registered three assists on the afternoon, while Wright and Makar led the way for Brooks with a goal and an assist, and two assists, respectively.
Making his Bandits debut, goalie Andrew Tucci stopped 24 of 30 shots, while Matthew McDonald stopped 31 of 36.
Brooks completes its weekend pre-season slate tomorrow evening at 6:00 at the Pason Centennial Arena in a rematch of last season’s South Division Semi-Final, as the Bandits will take on the host Okotoks Oilers.