DRUMHELLER, AB (March 20, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits were sent to 7 of the 9 penalty kills in the game, and had a potential third period game-winning goal waved off, as the Drumheller Dragons forced Game 5 of their 2018 AJHL South Division Semifinal with a 3-2 win on Tuesday night.
Brett Edwards was ruled to have scored at the 14:42 mark of the third period, notching the game-winner just moments after a Bandit goalmouth scramble led to a negated goal from Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN).
The Dragons controlled early play, outshooting Brooks 12-6 in the opening period and getting their first three power plays. But Mitch Benson and the Bandit penalty kill unit held the home side at bay, preserving a scoreless tie.
A fortunate bounce for the Bandit early in the second opened the scoring, when an attempted centering pass by Will Garin (Mound, MN) deflected off the skate of a Drumheller defenceman, and between the pads of Drumheller goalie Hunter Virostek to give the Bandits a 1-0 lead.
But on its third consecutive power play of the period, Drumheller tied the game when Edwards fired a top shelf wrister from the top of the right circle right off a faceoff.
Just under two minutes later, a turnover at the Drumheller blue line sprung the home side on a 3-on-1 rush. Tyler Kreklewich fired a shot from the slot past Benson to give Drumheller the lead heading into the final frame.
But just 1:29 into the third, Garin notched his second of the game on a perfect cross-crease pass from linemate Conner Jean (Oakland, MI).
The Bandits thought they had scored when Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) set up Theis in the blue paint to jam a puck by Virostek; but the goal was disallowed on account of the whistle having blown first.
Moments later, a neutral zone turnover by Brooks sprung the Dragons into the offensive zone again; Brady Risk took a shot that Benson stopped, but the rebound was hammered on goal by Edwards from the left circle. Depending on who you ask, it either hit the back of the Bandit net, or went post-and-out, but a goal was the call on the ice, and Drumheller skated away with the 3-2 win.
Drumheller outshot the Bandits 32-31 in the game and went 1 for 7 on the power play, while the Bandits went 0 for 2. Game 5 is scheduled for Friday night at 7:00 PM at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks, with a trip to the South Final for the seventh consecutive year again on the line for the Bandits. Tickets can be reserved online right now at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.