BROOKS, AB (March 4, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (48-9-2) became just the sixth team in Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) history to score 300 goals in a season, downing the Calgary Canucks by a 6-2 margin in their second to last game of the 2015-16 season at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
The Bandits became the first team since the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in 1999-2000 to reach the 300 goal mark, and also solidified the second-winningest record in team history, eclipsing the 47-win mark set by the 2011-12 Bandits.
Prior to the game, the Bandits handed out their annual team awards, which saw Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Just 2:26 into the game, it was the team’s newly named Top All-Around Forward who scored his team-leading 36th of the season; Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) took a pass from Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB), charged his way to the Canuck net, and was tripped up and flew through the air, tumbling into the right corner. But the puck popped free past Canuck goalie Caiden Kreitz and into the Calgary net to make it 1-0.
Just over halfway through the period, on the power play, a loose puck at the top of the crease was collected by captain Derek Lodermeier, named pre-game as the team’s Top Defensive Forward, as #18 showed his offensive panache with a nifty backhand-to-forehand move, tucking the puck past Kreitz for a 2-0 Bandit lead.
Brooks outshot the Canucks 19-3 in the first, and added a 19-8 margin in the second, scoring three more times. First, a Shane Bear (Calgary, AB) point shot capped off the alternate captain’s night being named the team’s Top Defenceman before the game. MVP winner Malott then one-timed a puck in from the slot on a nifty setup by Joe O’Connor on the rush at 7:29 to make it 4-0.
Calgary responded with a point shot by Chandler Irvin on the power play at 11:49 that ended the shutout bid for Garret Hughson (Foremost, AB), but Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) scored on a wraparound at the 17:45 mark to reclaim the four-goal lead.
In the third, the Bandits reached the vaunted 300-goal mark at 6:49 when Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) sent a behind-the-back backhand pass from the left halfboards to Logan Mick (Vernon, BC) at the left side of the net, who roofed it for the milestone marker.
Before the period was out, Josh Giacomin scored on the power play at 11:17 on a wrister from the right circle to pull the Canucks back to within 4, but it was as close as Calgary would get.
The Bandits completed the season series 6-0 against the Canucks, and will cap off the season series tomorrow night at home, hosting the Calgary Mustangs at 7:00 PM.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #4 Tristan Thompson
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #5 Joe O’Connor