SHERWOOD PARK, AB (December 4, 2016) – Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) had a career-high five points, captain Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) had his second career hat trick, and the Brooks Bandits (22-3-3) won their tenth consecutive game, downing the Sherwood Park Crusaders 9-1 on the road Sunday afternoon in the team’s largest margin of victory of the 2016-17 season.
It was the first time the Bandits had won a game in Sherwood Park since December 16, 2006, when a Landon Novotney hat trick goal gave the Bandits a 4-3 overtime win. It was the first regulation win by the Bandits in the Park since September 11, 2005, when Brooks won 3-2; the game ended a 9-game winless streak for the Bandits at the Sherwood Park Arena.
Two power play goals gave the Bandits an early lead; the first a Prkusic shot from the left circle at the 4:47 mark that beat goalie Zac Klassen, the second a Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) shot from the high slot at the 13:30 mark. Brooks outshot Sherwood Park 14-4 in the opening frame.
In the second, the Bandits struck again just 17 seconds in when Nic Vlahos (Mississauga, ON) found the back of the net with a wrist shot from the left circle. Just over three minutes later, Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) centered a puck from the left corner to Makar in the slot, who fired in his first goal of the game for a 4-0 Bandit advantage, and for the first time on the season, the Bandits chased a starting goalie as Jake Morrissey came in to replace Klassen.
Less than two minutes later, at the 5:04 mark, Oliver Chau (Oakville, ON) took a cross-crease pass from Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) and tapped it in to make it a 5-0 Brooks lead.
Sherwood Park spoiled the shutout bid for Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) with just over six minutes left in the second on an Arjun Atwal rebound goal, but Brooks struck back for two goals in the span of 61 seconds, beginning with a Jacob Kamps backdoor tap in at the 17:06 mark on a setup from Makar, then a power play goal 4 seconds into a man advantage when McKechney won a faceoff to Makar, whose quick wrister beat Morrissey through traffic.
Brooks added a shorthanded goal just 2:26 into the third period on a 2-on-1 rush, with Makar setting up Prkusic for a one-time goal. Then, at 12:13, Mappin set up Prkusic in the slot for his hat trick goal on a quick wrister, notching the 9-1 final score.
The game was a season high in offence for the Bandits, who outshot the Crusaders 36-20 in the game and finished their two-game road trip with 16 goals in the two games in Lloydminster and Sherwood Park.
The Bandits are in uncontested first place in the AJHL South, and are just 1 point behind first overall Whitecourt with a whopping 5 games in hand on the Wolverines.
Brooks is next in action on the road Wednesday night taking on the Drumheller Dragons for the first time this season. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:45 PM on Real Country 105.7.