Benson shuts out Canucks, Bandits win fifth straight, 3-0 in Strathmore

STRATHMORE, AB (December 8, 2017) – The Brooks Bandits (21-10-1) extended their win streak to five game, and goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) tied the franchise record for career regular season and playoff shutouts with his 14th, downing the host Calgary Canucks (13-18-1) at a neutral site game at the Strathmore Family Centre on Friday night by a 3-0 score.

Team captain Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) was central to all three goals, scoring the first two and assisting on the third. His first came just over halfway through the opening period when he fired a shot off the rush from the high slot that beat goalie Kolby Matthews for the eventual game-winner.

In the second, Cesana scored in the final minute when he drove down the right boards, cut behind the net, beat a defender, spun to the bottom of the left circle and fired a turnaround wrister past Matthews to double the Bandit lead.

The Bandits were outshot 22-18 in the opening two periods, but Benson made several key saves, particularly through screens, to keep Brooks in control.

In the third, the Bandits outshot Calgary 9-5 and added to the lead seconds into a 5-on-3 power play when a Cesana point shot was tipped in by Nolan Thompson (Calgary, AB) for a 3-0 advantage and Thompson’s seventh point in his last five games.

In the dying minutes, Calgary forward Josh Giacomin was tripped on a shorthanded breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. But Benson made a key pad save to keep the shutout intact and notch the 3-0 final score.

The Bandits and Canucks tied in shots 27-27, as Brooks went 1 for 6 on the power play and a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.

Brooks returns home to host the Olds Grizzlys on Saturday night in the annual Teddy Bear Toss, supporting Scotiabank Smiles for Christmas. Tickets are available online at