Hughes scores winner as Bandits prevail and wrap up Exhibition Season with win over Dragons

BROOKS, AB (November 7, 2020) ? TJ Hughes scored a backhand goal midway through the 3rd period to break a 5-5 tie, and that proved to be the winner as the Brooks Bandits prevailed 6-5 over the Drumheller Dragons on Saturday at the Centennial Regional Arena.

Goaltender Jared Whale (Calgary, AB) made 25 saves for the win, as the Bandits finish the 2020 Exhibition Season with an 8-2 record.

Despite 11 goals, the first one didn?t come until 14:27 into the game. Forward Brayden Krieger (Elora, ON) fired a top shelf shot on a behind-the-net pass from Chris Pappas (Etobicoke, ON) to make it 1-0 Brooks. The Dragons would tie the game less than two minutes later, as forward Moe Hakim scored on a top left corner shot. However, with 17 seconds left in the 1st, Bandits forward Owen Cole (Dunnville, ON) banked a shot off the back of Dragons goaltender Garrett Fuller to make it 2-1 Brooks, who outshot the Dragons 10-7 in the 1st.

The 2nd period started good for the Bandits as Pappas cleaned up a loose puck 4:35 into the frame on the powerplay to make it 3-1 Brooks. But the Dragons would come back and tie, thanks to a goals scored 19 seconds apart from Sam Simard and Myles Hilman with 9 minutes to go in the frame.

The wild 2nd period continued with under 2:30 left in the frame, as Brooks retook a 2 goal lead after forward Thomas Cusson (Cowansville, QC) raced into the attacking zone to take corner pass from linemate Ryan McAllister (London, ON), wristing his 8th goal of the pre-season. 17 seconds later, forward Sean Chisholm (Halifax, NS) roofed a McAllister pass to make it 5-3 Brooks, who outshot the Dragons 11-7 in the period.

The Dragons didn?t go away, getting two straight goals from Hilman to complete the hat trick at the 3:21 and 5:15 mark to tie the game 5-5. Then, with just over 10 minutes remaining, Hughes (Hamilton, ON) deked his way into the Dragons zone, lifting a backhand shot into the net to make it 6-5 Bandits. Drumheller got a late powerplay and empty net to have a 6-on-4 attack, but were unable to find the equalizer, as the Bandits preserved a 6-5 win. Final shots were 34-30 Brooks.

The 2020-21 Regular Season kicks off on Fri, November 13th when the Brooks host the Camrose Kodiaks at the Centennial Regional Arena. Game time is 7:00 PM.

Ticket information will be released early next week.

All games will be live on Real Country 105.7 FM or online at HockeyTV.

Photo: Bryan Wilson