BROOKS, AB (February 25, 2017) – The Brooks Bandits (47-5-4) lost in regulation at home for just the second time all season, and the first time since the team’s home opener in mid-September, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Calgary Canucks at the Centennial Regional Arena on Saturday night.
The Bandits, who had clinched first overall in the AJHL the night before in a 2-0 win over the same Canucks, were hosting a team only one point removed from third-place Okotoks in the South division standings.
Despite an 11-4 Bandit shot lead in the opening period, Calgary opened up a 2-0 lead; first on a turnover in the Bandit zone that led to an Andrew Marshall centering pass from the left half-boards that was kicked in by Jordan McConnell for a 1-0 Canuck lead. After an officials’ conference, the goal was ruled legal, giving Calgary the early advantage.
The Canucks doubled the lead at the 13:16 mark on a clear-cut 2-on-1 rush as McConnell fed a pass through the slot that Braydon Jenkins one-timed past Bandit goalie Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) to make it 2-0.
A scoreless second saw Benson make several key stops to keep his team in it, including a butterfly save on Calgary captain Ben Assad who curled from the left circle to the right side of the Bandit net, but found his shot denied.
Calgary goalie Logan Drackett more than matched Benson save-for-save though, until the Bandits finally broke through 13:38 into the third when Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) fired a pass from the left half boards to Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) in the slot. The Bandit leading scorer cut in closer and sniped a quick wrist shot by Drackett to cut the Bandit deficit in half.
With the Bandits holding a late power play and a chance to tie, however, the game was put out of reach when a Brooks turnover led to a Josh Giacomin shorthanded breakaway; he tucked a backhand shot past Benson to reclaim the two goal advantage and notch the 3-1 final score.
The Bandits finish the season series 4-2 against the Canucks, and will next take on the Calgary Mustangs in back to back road games on Tuesday and Wednesday to cap off that regular season series as well. Tuesday night’s puck drop is at 7:45 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 7:30 PM on Real Country 105.7.