BROOKS, AB (September 23, 2016) – Facing their toughest test of the season, the Brooks Bandits (3-1) passed with flying colours, downing the visiting Whitecourt Wolverines (1-1-2) by a 5-2 score at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
Both teams led at various points during the game, in a classic duel between two skilled hockey teams, with the difference being a Bandit-dominated early third period that allowed Brooks to pull away.
The Bandits notched the only goal of the first period on one of five first period power plays they were allowed. At the 13:48 mark, Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) fed a pass from the right point to a streaking-in Oliver Chau (Oakville, ON) at the left side of the net, who shoveled the puck in for his team-leading fifth goal and eighth point, and a 1-0 Brooks lead.
But after the Wolverines killed off a five-minute major penalty that ended the first and began the second, Whitecourt began to receive the lion’s share of power plays, and converted twice on them in the middle frame. First, Bryson Traptow beat goaltender Tony Rehm (Sun Prairie, WI) on a wraparound, then less than three minutes later Mitch Lipon fired a puck home on a power play breakaway to make it a 2-1 Whitecourt advantage.
Before the period was out, Brooks tied the game when Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) tipped a point shot by linemate Tyler Carangelo (Hamden, CT) past goalie Aaron Mackay to knot the game up at 2-2.
In the third, Mappin set up the Bandits’ game-winning goal, when his pass on a 2-on-1 rush skipped off of a defender’s stick, straight to Cesana, the trailer on the play. The defenceman’s quick backhand shot snuck by Mackay and gave Brooks a 3-2 lead.
Only 55 seconds after that, a long floating wrist shot from the right point by Austin Wright beat Mackay as well, giving Brooks a 4-2 cushion heading into the late third.
Despite a 14-7 Wolverine shot advantage in the third, the Bandits held on, and iced it with 40 seconds left when a Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) shot from the red line bounced into the back of the empty Whitecourt net. Since it happened in the final minute, the Foo goal earned every ticketholder at the CRA a free single cheeseburger at Wendy’s under the team’s new “60 Second Cheeseburger Challenge” promotion.
The Bandits went 1 for 6 on the power play while Whitecourt went 2 for 7. Rehm stopped 29 of 31 shots for his second straight win, while Mackay stopped 26 of 30 in the loss.
Brooks next takes on the Okotoks Oilers for a 7:00 PM Saturday start at the Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks, hoping to bounce back from their 2-1 home opener defeat to that same Oiler team. Pre-game coverage begins on Q105.7 at 6:45 PM.