DRUMHELLER, AB (January 26, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (36-7-2) rebounded from the end of their 17-game win streak on Tuesday night, never trailing in a 4-1 road defeat of the Drumheller Dragons (19-23-5).
With the win, the Bandits remained 9 points ahead of the Camrose Kodiaks for first place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South division, with 15 games remaining for both teams.
A scoreless first period nonetheless saw a plethora of Bandit scoring chances, and a 21-8 shot advantage for the visitors through 20. However, Drumheller goalie Jonny Hogue made a series of scintillating saves throughout the night to keep the result in doubt until the final minutes.
In the second, the Bandits opened the scoring just 1:17 in, when Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) spun a fired a shot from the Drumheller slot to extend his point streak to 6 games. The Bandits thought they had doubled the lead a few minutes later when a Kyler Nachtigall rebound shot found the back of the net, but the goal was waved off because a Bandit had allegedly entered the crease illegally.
Shortly after the wave-off, Levi Wunder scored a shorthanded goal to tie it for Drumheller off a turnover at the side of the Bandits net.
A few minutes after the tying goal, Drumheller defenceman Clint Filbrandt dropped his gloves and repeatedly punched Bandit defenceman Shane Bear, who did not drop his gloves. Filbrandt, who had in the last meeting between the two teams avoided ejection for a spear to the groin of a Bandit defenceman, was assessed a roughing double-minor and allowed to remain in the game.
Welykholowa reclaimed the one-goal advantage with just under 3 minutes left in the middle frame when a Charlie Marchand shot from the right circle produced a rebound that #9 of the Bandits backhanded in to make it a 2-1 game.
In the third, the Bandits found themselves hitting posts, missing the net, and on the wrong side of more great saves by Hogue. A Nick Prkusic wraparound goal was waved off when the referee ruled the net had come off of its moorings.
With four minutes left, Hogue attempted to pass the puck ahead from the side of his own net. But it instead came to the glove of Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB); the former Dragon dropped the puck, cut to the front of the net, and tucked a backhander past Hogue for a 3-1 lead. Just over three minutes later, Jeff Malott fired in the empty net goal to notch the 4-1 final score.
The Bandits outshot the Dragons 41-28 in the game, with Josh Davies (Guelph, ON) returning to the Bandits crease for the first time in eight games, recording his league-leading 26th win of the season in a 27-save performance. Brooks was 0-for-7 on the power play and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Bandits will host the Canmore Eagles on Friday night at the Centennial Regional Arena for the first of a home-and-home series. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:45 on Q105.7, and tickets are available at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.