BROOKS, AB (February 15, 2016) – A season-high crowd of 1,805 packed the Centennial Regional Arena in Brooks on a Family Day Monday afternoon, and was treated to a 5-2 win by the home side Bandits (44-7-2) over the Calgary Canucks, the team’s ninth consecutive win.
The Bandits set the new mark for the third-highest win total in franchise history, three back of the 2011-12 Bandits for the second-highest mark with 7 games remaining. Brooks remains three points back of the Spruce Grove Saints for first overall in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) with two games in hand.
It took the Bandits just 2:29 to score the opening goal when Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) was hauled down on a rush, drawing a Canuck penalty. But on the delayed call, Prkusic recollected the puck in the left wing corner, and one-handed it to Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) for a one-timer from the left wing faceoff circle to make it 1-0.
Less than two minutes later, the Bandits were sprung on their first two power plays after Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) was cut with a high stick and drew a double minor penalty. First, Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) fired in a wrist shot from the left wing faceoff circle at 4:25 to make it 2-0. Less than 90 seconds after that, O’Connor scored his second of the day with a backhand shot on a rebound in the slot for an early 3-0 advantage, chasing starting goalie Logan Drackett.
The Bandits outshot the Canucks 11-9 in the first but increased that margin to a whopping 23-7 in the second, adding two more goals. First, a Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) turnaround wrist shot from the right side of the Canuck net slipped by backup goalie Caiden Kreitz to make it 4-0. Just over five minutes after that, a Matteo Aiello (Calgary, AB) shot from the right point floated through traffic and past Kreitz to make it 5-0.
In the third period, the Bandits outshot the Canucks 15-10 for a 49-26 overall margin, but Kreitz kept the Canucks closer with a 42-save performance in total. Only Calgary scored in the final frame; an Austin Ehret point shot at 7:32 on a power play, and a Josh Giacomin wrist shot from the left wing faceoff circle with only 1:20 left notched the 5-2 final score.
The Bandits are now 5-0 against the Canucks on the season, and will next travel to Camrose to take on the Kodiaks in a game at the franchise’s old home, the Max McLean Arena, at 7:00 PM on Friday. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:45 on Q105.7.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #5 Joe O’Connor
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #25 Matteo Aiello