BROOKS, AB (January 6, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (28-11-1) came back from a first period 1-0 deficit on Saturday night, downing the visiting Drumheller Dragons (20-18-2) by a 4-2 final score at the Centennial Regional Arena.
After allowing an opening power play goal, the Bandits held Drumheller to just 10 shots for the rest of the game, scoring three times in the span of 4 minutes and 34 seconds in the second period to take the lead.
The win keeps the Bandits 7 points back of Okotoks for first place in the AJHL South, but extends their gap over Drumheller for second place to 15 points.
Drumheller’s first power play of the game led to the opening goal at the 9:12 mark when Alex Rotundo scored on a wrist shot from the slot. It was the third time in four meetings that the Dragons had opened the scoring against Brooks.
But after outshooting Drumheller by a narrow 11-8 margin in the first, the Bandits outshot their opponents 25-10 the rest of the way, seizing control of the game just over the halfway mark. Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) got tangled up with a forechecking Dragon, with the two colliding into the half boards. As a Drumheller defender came over to challenge Vachon, Carter Wolski (Sexsmith, AB) took the puck and charged to the front of the net unopposed, sliding a shot five-hole on Hunter Virostek to make it 1-1 and extending his point streak to 6 games.
Less than three minutes later, Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) fired a pass along the blue line that Jakob LaPointe (Leduc, AB) drove a slap shot on; the puck glanced off a Drumheller stick and then off VIrtostek’s glove and in to give Brooks its first lead. Plessis’ assist also extended his point streak to 6 games.
At the 16:20 mark, Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) carried in along the left side, stopped up at the point, and fired a perfect pass across to Matt Cassidy (Medford, NJ) at the right circle. His one timer tipped off a Dragon stick and over Virostek’s glove hand for the eventual game-winning goal.
In the third, the Bandits converted on their first and only power play when a Shane Bear (Calgary, AB) point shot was deflected in behind Virostek, where Plessis poked the puck over the goal line to make it 4-1. Drumheller got one back with 1:34 left in the game on a Bradley Stonnell power play point shot that went post and in.
Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) made 16 saves on 18 shots for his league-leading 28th win, while Virostek had the loss with a 32-save performance on 36 shots against. The Bandits went 1 for 1 on the power play while the Dragons were 2 for 6.
The Bandits hit the road on Tuesday night for the first of consecutive games against Olds, first in the Grizzlys’ barn at 7 PM before returning home to take them on Friday night at the CRA at 7 PM.