BROOKS, AB (February 6, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (40-7-2) made it a perfect 6 wins in 6 games against the Drumheller Dragons (20-26-5) for the 2015-16 Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) regular season, with a dominating 9-1 win in front of just under 1,400 fans at the Centennial Regional Arena on Saturday night.
The win was the highest offensive output for the Bandits since their 12-2 win over Olds on New Year’s Day, and also gave the Bandits a 14-point division lead over the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL South division. The game also served as a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with the team auctioning off special jerseys worn in the game for the charity.
It took Brooks just 4:50 to open the scoring, when a Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) point shot was tipped by Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) past goalie Xavier Burghardt for a 1-0 lead. The first Bandits power play led to the second goal, when Makar again set up the play with a backdoor pass from the high slot that was shoveled into the net by captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) to extend the Bandit forward’s point streak to 6 games.
Then, with just over a minute left in the opening frame, Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) sped into the Drumheller zone to the right wing faceoff dot, spun and fired a short side wrister into the back of the Dragon net to make it 3-0.
In the second, the Bandits held the Dragons off the shot counter for nearly 15 minutes, and added four more goals, outshooting Drumheller 22-2.
First, Josh McKechney fired a high wrister from the slot over the glove of Burghardt 3:47 in for a 4-0 lead. Then, on a 2-on-1 rush, McCrory faked a shot at the right circle, then passed the puck across to Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary, AB), who cut in front and tucked a backhander off of Burghardt and in to make it 5-0. The sixth goal came courtesy of a Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) wrist shot from the right wing faceoff circle, the Bandits’ second power play goal of the night, while McKechney finished off the second period outburst with his second of the game, jamming a loose puck in from the left side of the net to make it 7-0 after two.
In the third, the Dragons switched to goaltender Jonny Hogue, but still allowed two more goals. First, Malott notched his second of the night when Lodermeier flung a pass through the crease to the waiting Bandit alternate captain at the left side of the net, for a quick tap-in goal. The Dragons spoiled goaltender Josh Davies’ (Guelph, ON) shutout bid at the 12:54 mark when Levi Wunder fired a puck in from the left circle, but the Bandits reclaimed the 8-goal lead just over five minutes later, on a highlight reel hat trick goal by McKechney, who sped in to the right circle of the Dragons’ zone and cut into the slot, firing a quick wrist shot high and past Hogue to record the 8-1 final score.
The Bandits outshot Drumheller 57-22 in the game, going 2 for 7 on the power play and a perfect 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. Davies’ 21-save performance saw him record his league-leading 27th win of the season.
Brooks will next head to Calgary to take on the Canucks at the Max Bell Centre at 7:00 PM on Tuesday. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:45 on Q105.7.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #13 Josh McKechney
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #14 Austin Wright