OLDS, AB (January 2, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (29-6-2) rebounded from an early 2-0 deficit to the Olds Grizzlys (14-21-2) on Saturday night, scoring five unanswered goals for the team’s 11th straight win, 5-2.
With the win, the Bandits remained 7 points ahead of the Camrose Kodiaks for first place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South division, with one extra game played, and six points out of first overall in the AJHL, with three games in hand on first place Spruce Grove.
It was an inauspicious start for the Bandits, who lost veteran forward Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) just 29 seconds into the game when he pinned a Grizzly player into the corner boards of the Brooks zone and was called for a minor and game misconduct for checking from behind. Olds scored on the subsequent power play, just 1:29 in, on a long shot from the blue line by captain Jack Goranson that beat Bandits starting goalie Josh Davies (Guelph, ON).
Wyatt Noskey knocked in a rebound on another power play at the 14:24 mark to double the Grizzly lead, but the Bandits responded just over three minutes later when former Grizzly Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB), converted the Bandits’ first power play of the game with a wrist shot from the slot to cut the deficit in half.
Then, in the final minute of the period, Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary, AB) snuck a shot past goaltender Kurtis Chapman low to the glove side to tie the game, in a period where the Bandits outshot Olds 21-9.
In the second, the Bandits outshot the Grizzlys 14-4, and scored two more goals. First, Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) flung a pass from the left-wing corner to Cale Makar (Calgary, AB), who fired a quick wrist shot past Chapman for a 3-2 lead just 2:24 in. Later, with fewer than four minutes left, a Tristan Thompson (Calgary, AB) shot from the right faceoff circle was tipped in by Logan Mick (Vernon, BC) for the newest Bandit’s first goal with his new team, and a 4-2 advantage.
In the third, Brooks outshot the Grizzlys 18-5 for a 53-19 game total, and added a final goal in the final minute when Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) centered a pass to captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN), whose quick shot from the slot made it a 5-2 game, and extended Malott’s point streak to a team-high 15 games, with 28 points in that span.
The Bandits went 1 for 8 on the power play while the Grizzlys went 2 for 5. Chapman stopped 48 of 53 shots while Davies saved 17 of 19 for his league-leading 25th win of the season.
Brooks returns to action next Friday night in Drumheller, taking on the Dragons at 7:30, before returning home to host the Dragons next Saturday night at 7:00 at the Centennial Regional Arena. Tickets are available at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, at the CRA, or by phone at (403) 501-0122.