BROOKS, AB (September 30, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (4-2-1) held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but fell 4-2 to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (5-2) on Friday night, in their opening game of the 2016 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Showcase.
With the loss, the Bandits are tied for third place in the AJHL South with the Camrose Kodiaks, behind the Calgary Canucks and Okotoks Oilers.
The game began with an odd five-plus minute delay when the officiating crew ordered Brooks goaltender Alex Horawski (Toronto, ON) not to use the goalie mask he had worn for his entire AJHL career to that point. Horawski instead had to use the mask of his teammate, Tony Rehm (Sun Prairie, WI). At press time it was unclear why the mask change was required.
Brooks opened the scoring in the first when Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) skated in from the high slot and ripped a low shot past goalie Forbes Ploszaj to make it 1-0 and extend his personal point streak to six games.
But the Barons tied it before the period was out when a Bandit turnover led to a J.C. Thivierge shot from right between the hashmarks that beat Horawski through a screen to make it 1-1.
But the Bandits took the lead in the second, when a Mappin power play point shot deflected to Oliver Chau, who jammed the puck past Ploszaj on a net front scramble to give Brooks the 2-1 advantage.
Before the period was out though, the Oil Barons responded. First, Brandon Ralph sniped home the tying goal from the left hashmarks. Then, during a Brooks power play, off a misplay at the end boards, the Barons centered the puck with Horawski out of the net. The first shot was stopped by a block from Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB), but Liam Izyk tapped home the rebound for the eventual game-winning goal.
Despite more chances in the third and an overall 32-23 shot lead in the game, the only goal of the final period was a Ryan Cox empty netter from the red line to seal the 4-2 final for Fort McMurray.
The Bandits next take on the Sherwood Park Crusaders in their final Showcase game at 3:30 PM tomorrow at the Encana Arena. Pre-game coverage starts at 3:15 on Q105.7 FM.