BONNYVILLE, AB (October 28, 2016) – The Brooks Bandits (10-3-2) made it two straight wins over first-place teams, becoming just the third team this year to beat the Bonnyville Pontiacs (13-3) and doing it by a 3-1 score at the R.J. Lalonde Arena on Friday night.
Coming off of a 4-1 win over Fort McMurray the night prior, the Bandits were held to their lowest shot total of the season, but still outshot their opponents 26-21 and received a second-straight near-shutout from goaltender Mitchel Benson (Windsor, ON).
A scoreless first period that featured only 11 total shots on goal (a 7-4 Brooks advantage) gave way to a second period filled with power plays, including 4 man advantages for the Pontiacs and a 48 second 5-on-3 for the home side. But the Bandits killed them all off, and despite being outshot 9-4 in the period, recorded the only goal of the middle frame when Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) knocked home a power play setup from the side of the net from Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) to make it a 1-0 game.
That lead would hold until just past the halfway mark of the third period, when the Pontiacs spoiled Benson’s shutout bid after more than 50 minutes of perfect goaltending, as Brandon Whistle jammed home a loose puck on a net front scramble to draw the home side even.
But the Bandits didn’t falter, as the visitors scored less than two minutes later right off of a faceoff, as Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) skated down the right boards, cut to the side of the net, then drove behind the net and wrapped around a goal to give Brooks a 2-1 advantage.
With time ticking away and the Pontiacs pressing, Brooks was rewarded with a key insurance goal when Mappin won a battle in the left-wing corner of the Ponatic zone, and fired a puck from the left circle. Pontiac goalie Sandro Silvestre made the save, but Nic Hamre (Ottawa, ON) was waiting at the right side of the net and whacked in a rebound goal to notch the 3-1 final score.
The Bandits went 1 for 6 on the power play and a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill against the top-ranked power play unit in the AJHL.
The Bandits are off until Monday night when they travel to Camrose to take on the Kodiaks in the first of 6 rematches this season of last post-season’s South division final. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM on Halloween Night with pre-game coverage starting at 6:45 on Q105.7 FM.