CAMROSE, AB (October 16, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (11-1) saw a 4-1 lead evaporate in the third period, but a Tyler Campbell (Winnipeg, MB) goal with 4:20 left on the clock proved the difference, as the Bandits notched their 11th straight win, 5-4 in Camrose on Tuesday night.
The win extended their lead over Drumheller for 1st place in the AJHL South division to 4 points.
The Bandits had a bevy of regulars out of the lineup including captain Nathan Plessis and high-scoring Simon Boyko and Simon Gravel, as well as top defencemen Brandon Scanlin and Luke Bast. With the shortages up front, the Bandits dressed affiliate forward Justin Ross (Calgary, AB), who proved integral to two of the team’s goals.
Andranik Armstrong (Alexandria, VA) opened the scoring at the 10:59 mark when Ross flung a puck in front from the end wall, and the Bandit rookie backhanded it past Camrose goalie Roddy Ross for a 1-0 lead, recording his first Junior A goal while Ross recorded his first Junior A point.
That lead held until the 10:46 mark of the second, when Cam McAdam fed a pass across on a 2-on-1 to Adam Kolcon who fired a shot past Bandit goalie Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) to knot the game up 1-1.
But the Bandits responded quickly, scoring 3 goals in the span of just 87 seconds. First, William Lemay (Marieville, QC) collected a cross-ice pass at the right circle from Mack Hancock (Kingston, ON) on the rush, delayed, then dangled to the slot and fed a backdoor feed to the left side of the net for Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN) to one-time home for his second goal in as many games and a 2-1 Bandit lead.
Just over a minute later, Andrew Lucas (Alexandria, VA) collected a puck in the slot after Jakob Lee (Owen Sound, ON) had been denied on a chance in front, and fired the loose puck through a crowd of bodies and past Ross to make it 3-1. Then, on the very next shift, Ross carried in to the right circle and fed a pass through the slot to Armstrong, who wristed home his second of the game for a 4-1 advantage.
With a 3-goal lead and a 35-10 shot advantage, it appeared the win streak for Brooks would continue, but the Kodiaks stormed back in the third despite being outshot 14-7, scoring 3 goals in exactly 4 minutes of playing time. First, Zach Vinnell fired a wrist shot home from the left circle at 11:23 to pull them to within 2. A Nick Mantai shot at 12:59 bounced off of a Bandit defender and past Charleson to make it a one goal game. Then, at 15:23, with the Kodiaks on their second power play of the game, Dawson Schwengler fired a long wirst shot from the blue line that beat Charleson through a screen to tie the game up.
But even quicker than the lead evaporated, it reappeared for Brooks when on the very next shift Tyler Campbell collected the puck at the right side of the Kodiak net off a scramble and flipped a shot into the back of the Kodiak cage for the game-winner with 4:20 left in the game.
The game ended oddly with the Kodiaks pulling their goalie and having an offensive zone faceoff with 11.1 seconds showing on the clock. As the puck dropped, the clock did not start running, with the Kodiaks firing shots barely missing the Brooks net with the clock remaining firmly at 11.1 seconds. As the officials noticed the error, they blew the play down and instructed the remaining time to be run off the clock, giving the Bandits the dramatic 5-4 road win.
Brooks outshot Camrose 49-17 in the game, going 0 for 5 on the power play and 1 for 2 on the penalty kill.
The 11-game streak matches their longest win streak of the 2017-18 campaign, which they can best on Friday night when they welcome the Calgary Mustangs to the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.
Photo: Pro Sports Photography / Twitter