BROOKS, AB (November 21, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (22-2) hosted one of their earliest games in franchise history, with more than 1,000 school kids packing the Centennial Regional Arena for a noon start time on Wednesday afternoon, cheering their team on to a 6-3 win over the visiting Drayton Valley Thunder.
The Bandits’ orchestrated the game in a partnership with the local public and Catholic school boards, with the game featuring a mental health awareness theme with intermission presentations for the students in attendance.
The win extended the Bandits’ lead over Sherwood Park for first overall in the AJHL to 4 points, with a game in hand.
Ray Christy (St. Paul, MN) led the way with five points, including the opening goal when he blasted a point shot through a screen and past Thunder goalie Luke Lush to make it 1-0 Brooks on the Bandits’ first power play of the game.
Tanner Hopps tied the game for DV on their first power play, scoring on a net front scramble off the faceoff, and Ben Stollery gave the Thunder its first lead of the game on a power play wrister from the right circle that floated over the shoulder of Brooks goalie Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON).
But the Bandits tied it when Andrew Lucas (Alexandria, VA) fired a shot through a screen home late in the 1st, and Brooks took a lead into the first intermission courtesy of a Luke Bast (Red Deer, AB) point shot.
Brooks dominated the second period, extended the lead with three goals. Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) had two goals, both backhanders off the rush, bookending a Jordan Di Cicco (London, ON) net front rebound backhander. The two goals from Vachon put him into a tie for the league lead in goals with 18 on the year.
Drayton Valley cut the deficit in the 3rd when Ty Whitford fired home a puck from the front of the net, but it would be as close as the Thunder would get. Brooks outshot the Thunder 36-23, with Charleson earning his league-leading 19th win of the year stopping 20 shots.
The Bandits hit the road this weekend for games in Lloydminster on Friday and a showdown between the top two teams in the AJHL on Saturday in Sherwood Park.