BROOKS, AB (December 4, 2015) – Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) had two goals as the Brooks Bandits (21-6-2) became the first team to score more than 5 goals against the Spruce Grove Saints this year, downing the first place team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) by a 6-1 final score in front of 1,170 fans at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
With the win, the Bandits maintained a 3-point lead over the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL South division.
Much like Thursday night’s game in Okotoks, the Bandits allowed the opening goal in the eventual win, as Ian Mitchell scored with a one-timer off of a faceoff just over four minutes into the game to give the Saints the early lead; but it would be the only time Josh Davies (Guelph, ON) would be beaten on the night.
But Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) tied the game up just over four minutes later, taking a cross-ice feed from Austin Wright (Niagara Falls, ON) and lifting a high wrister from the left wing faceoff circle past goalie Matthew Murray to make it 1-1.
In the second, the Bandits took control, outshooting the Saints 21-5 and scoring three more goals. First, Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) jammed home a loose puck from the crease on a setup by Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) to make it 2-1. With just over three minutes left in the period, Jesse Pereira worked his way in front of the net and fired a backhand shot that caught Murray’s stick and bounced up in the air; Prkusic was waiting at the side of the net and batted the puck out of midair, into the Saints net for his first of the game and a 3-1 Brooks lead.
With 7 seconds left in the middle frame, Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) backhanded a puck to the left circle for a Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary, AB) one-timer that rang the right post and deflected into the Spruce Grove cage to give Brooks a 4-1 advantage after 40 minutes.
In the third, Brooks added two more, first Prkusic’s second on a won puck battle at the right corner, off of which the Bandit veteran worked his way in front of the net and stuffed a puck between Murray’s pads. Secondly, on the Bandits’ final power play of the game, Cale Makar lifted a long wrist shot through a screen right off of a faceoff from the left point that beat Murray to make it 6-1.
The Bandits went 1 for 4 on the power play and a perfect 4 for 4 on the penalty kill.
Brooks will now prepare for a Saturday night home game against the Whitecourt Wolverines, the third opponent for the Bandits in the last 3 days. It will be the annual Teddy Bear Toss game, with fans urged to throw the stuffed toys on the ice after Brooks’ first goal to be donated to the Scotiabank Smiles for Christmas campaign.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #15 Nick Prkusic
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #18 Derek Lodermeier