BROOKS, AB (January 18, 2019) – The Brooks Bandits (40-3) got a late game-winning goal from Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON), as well as a hat trick from Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN), extended their home record to 22-0, and put their overall winning streak to a season-high 16 games, downing the Sherwood Park Crusaders 5-4 in front of an announced crowd of 1,666 on Friday night.
The 16-game win streak tied the Bandits with the 1974-75 Drumheller Falcons, the 1979-80 Calgary Canucks, and the 2012-13 Brooks Bandits for the 9th-longest win streak in AJHL history. Only 12 teams have accomplished the feat in league history; five of which have now been Brooks Bandits teams.
The home side opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the game when Jakob Lee (Owen Sound, ON) fed a pass from the slot to Theis at the left side of the net for a quick one-timer to make it 1-0 Brooks. With less than 3 minutes left in the frame, Theis scored an almost identical goal with another left-circle one timer to make it 2-0 on the power play.
Brooks had outshot the Crusaders 20-7 in the first, but the second brought a much more even game, with the shots tied 14-14. Theis completed his hat trick 2:04 in with a wrister from the right side off the rush, but a Sherwood Park timeout helped cue their comeback, with Reid Irwin scoring from the left circle at 16:51 and Arjun Atwal firing one in from a similar area at 18:26 to make it a one goal game heading into the third.
Zach Kaiser tied it for the Cru at the 9:53 mark on a left circle wrist shot off the rush, but the Bandits pulled back ahead at 14:18 when Andrew Lucas (Alexandria, VA) fired a pass from the right circle to William Lemay (Marieville, QC) at the left side. He dangled around Sherwood Park goalie Carter Gylander and tucked an off-balance backhander into a yawning net for a highlight reel go-ahead goal.
But only 21 seconds later, a Brooks turnover in the slot allowed Nick Bowman to turn a fire a bar-down shot past Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) to pull Sherwood Park even 4-4.
The goals kept coming, though, with Mahshie forcing a turnover at the Sherwood Park blue line, speeding in on a breakaway, and tucking a low backhander between the pads of Gylander and into the net for the game winner with just 4:58 left on the clock.
The Bandits outshot Sherwood Park 44-31 in the game, going 1 for 4 on the power play and 1 for 2 on the penalty kill. They head to Camrose on Saturday night to go for 17 straight wins, which would be the second longest such streak in franchise history.