BROOKS, AB (November 24, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (24-2) broke a scoreless deadlock in the second period with two goals, and rode four more goals in the third period to a dominant 6-2 road win over the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday night, despite having six regular players out of the lineup due to injury or suspension.
The win was the team’s tenth in a row, and extended the Bandits’ lead over Drumheller for first place in the AJHL South to 14 points, with a 4-point lead in the overall league standings with 2 games in hand on second place Bonnyville.
The first period framed the game as a goaltending duel between league wins leader Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON), and star rookie Carter Gylander for the Crusaders, with neither team solving its opposing netminder in a first in which Brooks outshot Sherwood Park 12-9.
In the second, the Bandits opened the scoring at the 6:03 mark when Tyler Campbell (Winnipeg, MB) spun and fired a wrist shot from the high slot that deflected off of Jordan Di Cicco (London, ON) and into the Crusader net for a 1-0 Brooks advantage. Brooks doubled the lead at 9:50 when captain Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) fired a wrist shot home from the right circle, extending his point streak since returning from injury to 3 games.
Simon Gravel (Boucherville, QC) went to work early in the third, scoring at the 1:56 mark when he pulled off a nifty dangle around a Crusader defender and ripped a wrist shot home from the right circle for what stood up as the game-winning goal. Gravel followed up on the power play when his backhand feed from the right side of the net deflected in past Gylander at the 3:19 mark for a 4-0 Brooks advantage.
Sherwood Park converted on its seventh power play of the game at the 4:52 mark when Jacob Franczak tipped a shot past Charleson off the rush, but on the very next shift, Campbell took the puck away in the Crusader zone and scored on a breakaway to reclaim the four-goal advantage.
Gravel got his third point of the night at 17:03, feeding a puck from the end wall to William Lemay (Marieville, QC) in the slot, whose quick wrister beat Gylander for a 6-1 lead. Tanner Fincaryk scored for Sherwood Park with less than two minutes left, but it was as close as the Crusaders would get.
The Bandits outshot Sherwood Park 45-38 in the game, with Charleson making 36 saves for his league-leading 21st win of the season.
Brooks will travel to Calgary on Tuesday night for their first road matchup with the Calgary Mustangs of the season at 7:30, before returning home to host the same Mustangs on Friday night at the CRA. Tickets for the latter are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.