LLOYDMINSTER, SK (May 15, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (1-1) recorded their first win of the 2016 RBC Cup, winning their third meeting of this season with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) champion West Kelowna Warriors (1-1) by a 5-1 score on Sunday night.
The game was a far cry from the 6-0 loss the Bandits suffered at the Warriors’ hands in the Western Canada Cup championship game in Estevan, Saskatchewan. The Bandits never trailed in the game, and converted twice on a potent power play, while also scoring a shorthanded goal for the second straight game.
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
The drama of the game began sooner than most expected, with a near-fracas over the ceremonial opening faceoff. West Kelowna captain Kyle Marino tied his stick up with Bandit captain Derek Lodermeier in the pre-game ceremony, forcibly winning the draw despite the fact that the Bandits were the home team, and thus designated to take the puck after it was dropped.
The Bandits opened the scoring just 3:32 into the game when alternate captain Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) sped in on a breakaway and snapped a shorthanded shot past goalie Keelan Williams. But West Kelowna replied with just under five minutes left in the first when Quin Foreman backhanded a puck past Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB) from the side of the Bandit net to knot the game up.
Before the first was out, the Bandits responded when Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) kept in a puck at the blue line on the power play, skated into the slot and wired a shot off the iron and in to reclaim a one-goal lead for the Bandits after the first period.
In the second, a flurry of Warrior chances failed to tie the game back up, including a key breakaway save with the glove by Hughson. Instead, the Bandits converted on another power play at the 10:02 mark, when Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) fired a long wrist shot through a screen to give Brooks its first multi-goal lead.
Before the second was finished, Logan Mick (Vernon, BC) added a fourth when he one-timed a drop-back pass from linemate Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) from the high slot into the West Kelowna net.
But soon after, a scary moment ensued for Bandit fans when forward Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) missed on an attempted hit in the neutral zone and fell headfirst into the bench door, popping his helmet off his head and leaving him collapsed on the ice. Prkusic did recover and left the ice under his own power, but did not return to the game.
In the third, the Bandits added a final insurance marker when a Jesse Baird (Brampton, ON) point shot hit the pad of Williams, but the rebound popped right to Mick who jammed the puck home for his second goal of the night and a 5-1 final score.
The Bandits will have an off day Monday before returning to action Tuesday night against the tournament host team, the Lloydminster Bobcats. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM with pre-game coverage beginning at 7:00 PM on Q105.7.