DRUMHELLER, AB (September 23, 2017) – The game was exciting, back-and-forth, unpredictable, and if nothing else, odd. But in the end, the Brooks Bandits (2-2) got two points, courtesy of a third period comeback from a three-goal deficit, with Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) scoring in the fourth round of the shootout to put Brooks back to the .500 mark on the season with a 6-5 win over the Drumheller Dragons on the road Saturday night.
The opening frame saw the Bandits outshoot Drumheller 13-6, but the only goal came on a power play wrister from Jordan Taupert of the Dragons from the right half boards.
The Bandits got off to a hot start in the second with Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) scoring twice consecutively. His first was a power play point shot through a screen at 1:49, while his second came on a rebound chance set up by Boyko that the Holy Cross commit flipped up and over Drumheller goalie Dane Dow to give the Bandits their first lead.
But penalty trouble did the Bandits in as the Dragons would score four more times before the period was out. Joren Patenaude scored first at 5:52 with a power play goal, but a slashing penalty taken by Brooks right after the play put Drumheller right back to the man advantage, where Taupert scored his second of the game to make it 3-2. With just under 3 minutes left, Brett Edwards scored on a long point shot for another power play marker, and less than a minute later, Brady Risk sped in, catching the Bandits on a line change, and a fired a shot that Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) saved, but nonetheless produced a rebound for Derrick Budz to tap home to make it 5-2.
The teams tied in shots 11-11 in the second, and the Bandit breakthrough took until the final half of the third. Two early hooking penalties to Brooks gave Drumheller a 5-on-3, but the Brooks penalty kill came through to keep the game within reach.
Believing Bandit forward Orca Wiesblatt (Calgary, AB) to have intentionally bumped the Drumheller goalie, Dragon forward Brayden Nicholetts travelled across the ice to challenge the Bandit sophomore but was shoved down to the ice in short order. Responding by dropping his gloves and attempting to jump Wiesblatt, the two instead tangled and fell without either landing a single punch, and Wiesblatt keeping his gloves on. As a result, Nicholetts was ejected from the game with an instigator and fighting penalty, while Wiesblatt only received a double minor for roughing.
On the ensuing three-minute major power play, the Bandits struck in odd fashion when a puck deflected over the glass in the Drumheller zone but bounced back in off the netting. Play continued, and a Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) point shot produced a rebound for Nolan Thompson (Calgary, AB) to hammer home for his first as a Bandit, pulling Brooks to within 2.
Then, after a slashing penalty against Drumheller, Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) slapped in a power play goal from the point to make it a one-goal game.
But the Dragons appeared to be set to hang on, until the most bizarre play of the night. Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) carried in for Brooks on a 1-on-1 rush and wripped a wrist shot that sailed high over the Drumheller net and off the end glass. But it deflected back over the net, landing on the back of goaltender Dow, who fell back into his net. Thus, the puck crossed the line, and the Bandits had tied the game with just 24 seconds left.
Overtime solved nothing despite Tyler Kreklewich of Drumheller hitting the post and Cesana being stopped on a breakaway, and the game headed to a shootout.
A scoreless opening round led to Drumheller taking the lead after two rounds when Kreklewich scored. But needing a goal from their captain to keep the shootout alive, Cesana flipped a backhand shot past Dow to continue it into round four. Benson stopped Troy Dudley, which put the game on Boyko’s stick. His low wrister sped by Dow and into the Dragons net to give Brooks the dramatic 6-5 comeback victory and weekend sweep.
The Bandits will next hit the road to take on the Olds Grizzlys in their last game before the annual Showcase in Camrose. Puck drop on Tuesday is at 7:00 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 6:45 on Real Country 105.7.