OLDS, AB (January 9, 2018) — For the second time in as many visits to Olds, the Brooks Bandits exploded for eight goals, including a Matt Cassidy (Medford, NJ) hat-trick, as they trounced the Grizzlys 8-3 on Tuesday night in their final trip to the Olds Sports Complex of the regular season.
It was Cassidy’s first AJHL hat-trick, which was combined with two goals from forward Conner Jean (Oakland, MI), and markers from Nolan Thompson (Calgary, AB), Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) and Jakob LaPointe (Leduc, AB). Goaltender Micthel Benson (Windsor, ON) made 16 saves for his 29th win of the season, which improves the Bandit overall record to 29-11-1.
Olds had to make a goaltender change less than three minutes into the game after starter Andrew Henderson left in what appeared to be an injury. Josh Brindza took over.
The Grizzlys scored first, as forward Chase Olsen pounced on a rebound nearly six minutes into the game on a powerplay. However, less than three minutes later, Brooks responded with Cassidy’s first of the night, as he shot from the top of the left circle to draw the game even, 1-1.
The Grizzlys reclaimed the lead on another rebound as Cody Laskosky cleaned up with under seven minutes remaining in the first. The back and forth period continued as the Bandits tied the game 29 seconds later thanks to a Thompson tip shot that fooled the Grizzly tender.
Brooks took their first lead of the night 80 seconds into the second period as Jean one-timed his first of the night that Brindza initially stopped, but couldn’t squeeze as it trickled into the net. Olds countered just over two minutes later with a powerplay goal from Dalton Ossman, who cleaned up a loose puck that Brooks couldn’t clear.
That proved to be the last time the teams would be dead-locked, as Brooks pulled away just over a minute later. Mahshie stuffed in the puck after a flurry in front of the Olds net set up by linemate Louis Jamernik (Calgary, AB) to give the Bandits a 4-3 lead.
Then, three minutes and thirty seconds later, Jean one-timed his second of the night, but this time on the powerplay to make it 5-3. Olds would get a glorious chance to get one back on a Cody Laskosky breakaway, but he was denied but a strong save from Benson. The Bandits added to their lead with over four minutes remaining, as LaPointe scored on a one-on-one rush and shot from the outside of the left circle.
The third period saw two more goals from Brooks, both from Cassidy. The first came just over halfway through the period on the powerplay, as one-timed a perfect pass from Cale List (Petawawa, ON) to make it 7-3. He added another from the high slot with under five minutes to play to make it 8-3, the final.
Brooks outshot Olds 41-19, while going 2 for 4 on the powerplay and 3 for 5 on the penalty kill.
The rematch goes Friday at the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks, and will be the final meeting of the regular season between the teams. Tickets are available at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.