WHITECOURT, AB (February 17, 2018) – Dennis Cesana (Providence, RI) scored the game-winning goal with just over five minutes left in the third period to break a scoreless deadlock, and Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) stopped all 26 shots he faced, as the Brooks Bandits defeated the Whitecourt Wolverines 2-0 on Saturday night at the Scott Safety Centre.
With the shutout, Benson set a new Bandits team record for career shutouts in the AJHL with his 16th of his two-season career in Brooks.
Despite outshooting the Wolverines 18-13 in the opening two periods, the Bandits were stymied repeatedly by Whitecourt netminder Xavier Potvin. The game featured twelve total power plays, with the Bandits going a perfect 7 for 7 on the penalty kill.
In the third, with time dwindling, Matt Cassidy (Medford, NJ) won an offensive zone faceoff back to Brandon Scanlin (Hamilton, ON) at the left point. The Bandit rookie charged down the wall and flung a pass through the slot to Cesana waiting at the backdoor, who tapped the puck to give the Bandits the dramatic 1-0 lead.
The Wolverines pressed hard late, with Benson tasked with several point blank rebound saves down the stretch. In the final minute, Whitecourt forward Yannik Bertrand was called for elbowing Cesana after the whistle, putting the Bandits on a game-ending power play in which Nathan Plessis (Salmon Arm, B.C.) iced the result by scoring on an empty Wolverine net from the neutral zone.
The Bandits were outshot 26-24 in the game and won for just the second time this season when being outshot. They return home on Monday afternoon to host the Drumheller Dragons in the team’s annual Family Day game, with all fans under 18 invited to attend for free, and a free Skate with the Bandits on the CRA ice after the game. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 PM, with tickets available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.