BROOKS, AB (March 17, 2017) – Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) was the only multi-goal scorer in a 9-goal Brooks Bandits offensive outburst on Friday night, as the AJHL’s number one regular season team recorded the second-largest shutout win in league playoff history, downing the Olds Grizzlys 9-0 in Game 1 of the best of seven division semifinal.
Goaltender Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stopped all 16 shots he faced, tying the franchise record for total shutouts including playoffs with his eighth of the year, matching Michael Fredrick’s number from 2013.
Much as in the 2016 playoffs, in which the Bandits scored 16 seconds into their first game, this postseason began with a first-minute goal as Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) chipped a puck in from the left side of the Olds net to open the scoring just 44 seconds into Game 1.
It took until the final minutes of the first for the spread to widen, however. With 2:17 left in the period, Cesana scored his first of the game off the rush on a quick wrist shot from the right circle, beating goalie Ben Giesbrecht to make it 2-0. Just over a minute later, with 1:06 left, a Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON) pass from the left circle came across to Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON), who one-timed in the third goal from the right circle to make it a 3-0 lead after 1.
The Bandits added 3 more in the second; the first a Ty Mappin point blank chip-in from the left side of the net at 11:39. Mappin then set up the fifth goal off a neutral zone faceoff, carrying in to the right circle and centering the puck to Oliver Chau (Oakville, ON) in the slot for another wrister goal. In the final minute of the second, a diving stab at a rebound by Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) made it 6-0.
In the third, a lengthy offensive zone shift led to a Kord Pankewicz (Drayton Valley, AB) goal at the 3:27 mark on a wrist shot from the left circle set up by McKechney, beating relief goalie Andrew Henderson. Brooks broke through on its power play at 12:59 on a bullet of a one time shot by Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) from the blue line. Finally, Cesana capped off the scoring with his second at 15:34, set up by Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) on a 2-on-1 rush. The Bandits outshot Olds 56-16 in the game.
The two teams will meet again for Game 2 on Saturday night at the CRA once again. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM with tickets available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.