BROOKS, AB (October 12, 2018) – Luke Bast (Red Deer, AB) had the overtime winner in his return to the lineup as the Brooks Bandits (9-1) extended their win streak to nine with a 3-2 extra time triumph over the visiting Grande Prairie Storm (6-4-2) in front of a crowd of 1,244 at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
The win moved Brooks into a three-way tie for first place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), with a game in hand on Bonnyville and two in hand on Spruce Grove.
The Storm battled back to erase 1-0 and 2-1 Bandit leads, but Bast’s goal 2:55 into the extra frame helped avoid what would have been a major upset after Brooks outshot their opponents 51-24 in the game.
Ray Christy (St. Paul, MN) deflected home a Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) point shot at 5:27 of the first period for the only goal of the opening 40 minutes, with the Bandits holding the narrow 1-0 lead entering the third with a 31-11 shot advantage.
But Grande Prairie pushed back just 69 seconds into the third when Zach Okabe scored from the right circle on the power play to knot it at 1-1. But just under 6 minutes later, Mack Hancock (Kingston, ON) put the home side back out in front with a top shelf wrister on a rebound at the left side of the net.
With just over four minutes left in regulation, however, Zachary Cunningham scored from the right circle to tie the game back up and force 3-on-3 overtime.
The winner came just under three minutes into the fourth frame, as Christy, who had opened the scoring, entered the Storm zone down the right wing and dropped the puck back to Tyler Campbell (Winnipeg, MB). The Bandit rookie dropped another pass for Bast in the high slot, who fired a low wrister through the screen created by Christy driving to the net front, and through the five hole to send the Bandits streaming off the bench to celebrate.
The Bandits went 0 for 5 on their power play and 4 for 5 on the penalty kill. Bandit goalie Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) recorded his 9th consecutive win as well, making 22 saves on 24 Storm shots, while Kaeden Freer-Lane of the Storm made a whopping 48 saves on 51 shots.
Brooks completes its 3-game homestand on Saturday night, hosting the Whitecourt Wolverines at 7 PM. Tickets are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, and are just $5 for seniors.