BROOKS, AB (October 25, 2017) – Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stopped all 22 shots he faced, and the Brooks Bandits (11-4-1) got 7 goals from 6 different goal scorers in a 7-0 home win over the Lloydminster Bobcats (4-12) in front of a crowd of 1,213 at the Centennial Regional Arena on Wednesday night.
The win was the Bandits’ third in a row, and puts the team into uncontested second place in the AJHL South division, 2 points ahead of their next opponent, the Drumheller Dragons.
A scoreless first period saw only 12 total shots on goal, five of which came off the sticks of the Bobcats. Despite the low total, Lloydminster had two breakaway chances in the period, with Benson coming up big with pad saves on both to preserve the scoreless draw.
The opening goal didn’t come until the 4:31 mark of the 2nd period when Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) fed a pass from the high slot to Jake Theis (Chanhassen, MN) at the bottom of the right circle for a quick shot over a sliding goaltender Liam McCloskey to give Brooks the 1-0 lead.
On the ensuing shift, the Bandits doubled the lead when Simon Boyko (Mississauga, ON) fed a pass from the left corner to Matt Cassidy (Medford, NJ) at the right circle for a wrist shot goal and a 2-0 lead.
After captain Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) was robbed by McCloskey on a backdoor one-timer from the left circle, Liam Lytton (Vancouver, BC) dug the puck free at the end wall, cut in front of the net and fired a far side shot into the back of the Bobcat net for his first AJHL goal and a 3-0 Bandit lead.
The first power play didn’t come until the final minutes of the 1st, and the Bandits converted on it, with Orca Wiesblatt (Calgary, AB) charging into the Bobcats zone and dangling around two defenders to the slot, turning a tucking a wrister home to make it 4-0 Bandits after the second period.
In the third, the Bandits converted thrice more, the first a one-time wrister by Conner Jean (Oakland, MI) from the slot off a Boyko setup at 4:27, and the next two coming on the power play, first a Cesana wrister from the right circle that picked the top left corner, and the last a final minute goal by Lytton from the left circle to earn the fans in attendance free Wendy’s cheeseburgers and notch his second of his Bandit career.
The Bandits went 3 for 4 on the power play and a perfect 3 for 3 on the PK, outshooting the Bobcats 37-22 in the game. They will head to Drumheller for the opener of a home-and-home series on Friday night against the Dragons, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 and pre-game coverage beginning at 7:15 on Real Country 105.7.