BROOKS, AB (December 11, 2015) – The Brooks Bandits (23-6-2) got points from 14 different skaters, and two-goal nights from captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) and veteran Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON), en route to an 8-2 win over the visiting Drayton Valley Thunder (15-14-4) in front of 1,258 fans at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
With the win, the Bandits remained one point ahead of the Camrose Kodiaks in first place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) South division, with a game in hand.
Brooks pulled away early in a dominant first period, outshooting the Thunder 20-4 and scoring three times. The Bandits converted on their first two power play opportunities; the first a Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) backdoor shot for his league-leading ninth power play goal of the season at 8:40, and the second a Lodermeier shot from the slot at 13:34. At even strength, sophomore defenceman Charlie Marchand (Calgary, AB) made it 3-0 on a slap shot through a screen with 1:05 to go in the opening frame.
In the second, the Thunder responded on a power play of their own when a left circle wrister by Matt McNeil at the 2:13 mark threaded the needle past Bandit goaltender Jonny Reinhart (Cambridge, ON) who was making his first start in a Brooks uniform. But the Bandits soon responded with three more of their own.
First, Lodermeier snuck a point blank backhander in while being hauled down the ice in front of the D.V. net to reclaim a three-goal lead at 5:45. At 12:32, an Austin Wright (Niagara Falls, ON) centering pass from the end boards was deflected in by Pereira at the side of the net for a 5-1 lead. Then, with just over five minutes left in the frame, a pinballing puck in the slot deflected off of Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) and in past Thunder goalie Carter Seminuk for a 6-1 Brooks lead after two.
In the final frame, the Bandits extended the lead twice more. First, Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) scored his second goal as a Bandit on a nifty give-and-go play with fellow newcomer Landon Welykholowa. Mappin started the play from the high slot, flicking a pass to Welykholowa in the slot, but dashing to the front of the net to take a return pass, wide open, and tucking the puck around a sprawling Seminuk for a highlight reel seventh goal. A net front scramble at 5:31 on the power play would lead to Pereira backhanding in his second of the night for an 8-1 lead.
Austin Yaremchuk got the Thunder back on the board with a one-timer from the left circle at 9:45, but it was as close as Drayton Valley would get, as the Thunder were outshot 40-24 on the night. Reinhart made 22 saves for the win in his first Bandit appearance.
Brooks now prepares for another North division opponent as the Sherwood Park Crusaders come to town for a Saturday night battle; puck drop is at 7 PM with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:45 PM on the home of the Bandits, Q105.7.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #18 Derek Lodermeier
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #11 Jeff Malott