BROOKS, AB (March 17, 2018) – Pierre-Anthony Martineau (Sherbrooke, QC) and Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) both had two-goal nights, as the Brooks Bandits took a 2 games to none lead in their AJHL South Semifinal series with the Drumheller Dragons on Saturday night, with a 5-3 win in front of an announced crowd of 1,397 in Brooks.
The Bandits outshot Drumheller 27-6 in the first two periods, and 32-12 in the game, chasing their opponents’ starting goalie for the second straight game.
Bandit captain Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) opened the scoring at the 6:53 mark, catching the Dragons on a change and firing a wrist shot from the right circle that caught a defender’s stick and knuckled by Dragon goaltender Dane Dow to make it 1-0.
Just under three minutes later, forward Will Garin (Mound, MN) won an offensive zone faceoff, sweeping a puck through the slot to a waiting Jean at the left side of the net who tapped it in to double the Brooks advantage.
The Bandits registered the first 10 consecutive shots on goal in the game, and it took until more than 15 minutes of the game had been played before Drumheller finally recorded a shot; but that first shot from Brad Stonnell produced a rebound that Jordan Taupert tapped in from the left side of the Brooks net to cut the deficit in half and give Drumheller a goal on just its second and final shot of the first period.
In the second, Brooks broke through when Jean went bar down on a wrister off the rush with one second left in the team’s first, abbreviated, power play. At the 4:30 mark, Louis Jamernik (Calgary, AB) set up Matt Cassidy (Medford, NJ) on a cross-crease pass, but his backhand one-timer hit the left post and bounced out. But Martineau charged to the top of the crease and one-timed the loose puck into a yawning cage to make it 4-1 Brooks and force Drumheller to switch back to its Game 1 starter Hunter Virostek in net.
Virostek kept his team in it, and in the dying minutes of the second Slater Dykema wristed a shot home from the left circle to pull the Dragons to within 2 after 2 periods.
But with 7:18 gone in the third, Martineau intercepted a Dragon pass in the neutral zone, sped in down the middle and fired a glove side wrister past Virostek to give Brooks a 5-2 lead. Drumheller scored on the next shift when Troy Dudley one-timed in a backdoor feed from the right circle, but it was as close as the Dragons would get.
Mitch Benson stopped 9 of 12 shots for his fifth consecutive win to open playoffs, while Dane Dow took the loss for Drumheller stopping 15 of 19 shots in 24:30 of playing time, and Virostek stopped 12 of 13 in 33:12 of time. The Bandits were 1 for 3 on the power play and a perfect 4 for 4 on the penalty kill.
The series now resets to Drumheller for Games 3 and 4, beginning on Monday night at the Drumheller Memorial Arena with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 PM. The game will be broadcast live on Real Country 105.7 as the Bandits will try to take a 3-0 stranglehold on the series.