BROOKS, AB (February 24, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (43-13-1) had their 16-game home winning streak snapped on Saturday night, as the visiting Spruce Grove Saints broke a 1-1 two-period tie with three big third period goals en route to a 4-1 win at the Centennial Regional Arena.
In the process, Bandit goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) set the new AJHL record for minutes played by a goaltender in a single season, 15 minutes into the second period, when he recorded his 3,229th minute played, breaking the record set by former Bandit goalie Kyle Richter in 2004-05.
Spruce Grove opened the scoring 11:24 into the game when a Nick Leyer shot ricocheted off of a Bandit defender’s stick and past Benson for a 1-0 Saints advantage, though shots were tied 9-9 in the first and the Bandits were denied by goalie Nolan Kent on a last-second net front scramble.
In the second, the Bandits were put on three straight penalty kills and were outshot 10-5, but scored the only goal of the frame when Cale List (Petawawa, ON) kept a puck in along the left wall and put it down low to Pierre-Anthony Martineau (Sherbrooke, QC), whose blind backhand centering pass slid through the slot to Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON), who wristed in the game-tying goal at 9:11.
But the Saints took firm control in the third, outshooting the Bandits 16-10 and scoring three times. The first two goals came in the span of just 24 seconds; the first a Chase Olsen wraparound at 4:02, and the second a Damon Zimmer tip of a T.J. Lloyd shot from the halfboards. Cam Mitchell scored on a breakaway at 7:29 to cap off the scoring.
Late in the third, the Bandits were put on a major power play with 4:10 left when Seth Fyten was ejected for fighting Matt Cassidy (Medford, NJ), but the Saints killed it off, going 5 for 5 against the Bandits power play (while Brooks’ PK was a similarly perfect 6 for 6).
The Bandits will hit the road Tuesday night for their third-last game of the regular season against the Calgary Mustangs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 7:15 on Real Country 105.7.