CALGARY, AB (October 7, 2015) – Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary, AB) had a season high three points as the Brooks Bandits (6-3) took down the Calgary Canucks (3-8-1) by a 4-2 final in the first of six regular season meetings between the AJHL South rivals on Wednesday night.
Playing without injured veterans Austin Wright, Jeff Malott, Jesse Baird, and Logan Aasman, and with Jesse Pereira serving the final game of his suspension, the Bandits shuffled lines and nonetheless outshot their opponents 38-20 in front of an announced crowd of 152 at the Max Bell Centre.
“I thought we had a pretty good work ethic; our forwards were real good supporting our defence,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “I still thought we gave up opportunities that we shouldn’t be giving up, but it’s a work in progress, and another two points.”
The game’s opening goal came at the 6:07 mark when a Mike Falanga (East Haven, CT) point shot deflected to rookie Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB), whose shot from the slot produced a rebound for defenceman Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) to backhand in from the top of the crease to give the Bandits the early advantage.
The Canucks were afforded four power plays in the first, with the Bandits receiving none, yet Brooks still outshot Calgary 10-7 in the opening twenty minutes.
In the second, with a more even division of power plays, the Bandits dominated, outshooting the Canucks 17-5; but several key saves by Canuck goaltender Logan Drackett, following up a stop on a shorthanded breakaway for Nachtigall in the first, kept the game close.
Nachtigall scored his first of the game 7:29 in when Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) set up a point shot by rookie forward Will Conley (Strathmore, AB). Drackett made the initial save, but Nachtigall tapped in the rebound to make it 2-0 Brooks.
Just over a minute later, however, off a turnover behind the Bandits net by goaltender Josh Davies (Guelph, ON), Ryan McKinnon deposited the puck into an empty Brooks net to cut the deficit back in half.
The Bandits reclaimed the two-goal margin at 14:20 after a long-awaited power play goal, when Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) won a battle at the side of the Calgary net and jammed a puck past Drackett for a 3-1 advantage, and his team-leading 14th point of the season.
In the third, an 11-8 Bandit shot advantage featured Nachtigall’s second goal, and the team’s second power play goal of the evening. Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) again fired a slap shot from the Calgary blue line, and Nachtigall was poised at the side of the Canuck net to deposit the puck past Drackett for a 4-1 lead.
Calgary clawed back to within one when Dalton Ossman fired a rebound past Davies at 12:55, but the Bandits held on for their second straight win. After the game, a scrum ensued when Canuck forward Zach McNeill shot the puck into the empty Bandits net well after the final buzzer. Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) and Chandler Irvin ended up caught in a fight, which ended when the Bandit captain tackled the Canuck defenceman down to the ice, knocking him off balance with a right hook.
Brooks went 2 for 4 on the power play and a perfect 8 for 8 on the penalty kill. Nachtigall led the way with 2 goals and an assist.
“We haven’t given Nach the opportunity that he probably deserves; obviously on the power play, the first night he gets on it, he picks up three points,” Papaioannou noted. “He’s a good player; we’ve only been playing him about ten minutes a night; tonight he plays twenty, and it’s a significantly different outcome for him.”
The Bandits will return home for their first game at the Centennial Regional Arena in 20 days on Friday night when they host the Calgary Mustangs at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available at the CRA, by phone at (403) 501-0122, or online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.