BROOKS, AB (December 17, 2015) – The offensive panache of the Brooks Bandits (25-6-2) was on display in Okotoks again on Thursday night, with a 7-4 win over the Okotoks Oilers (19-14-2) giving the Bandits 25 goals in their last three games, and a seven-game win streak.
The win gave the Bandits a three-point lead over the Camrose Kodiaks for first place in the AJHL South.
A power play granted to the Bandits just five seconds into the game led to the game’s opening goal just 24 seconds in, when a Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) pass across the slot was jammed in by Jared Cockrell (Byfield, MA) for a 1-0 Bandits lead.
Braeden Nesbitt tied the game for Okotoks on a rebound just under four minutes later, but a shorthanded breakaway goal for captain Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) at the 12:38 mark not only reclaimed a Bandit lead, but extended his point streak to 12, tying Cockrell’s team season high.
The Oilers knotted the game back up with 26 seconds left on Nesbitt’s second goal of the game, but the subsequent period would belong to the Bandits, who after being outshot 10-9 in the first, outshot Okotoks 22-5 in the middle frame.
First, Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) swept in a goal at 5:03 on the power play, and Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) did the same on a power play rebound just over three minutes later. Cockrell scored his second of the game at even strength at the 9:39 mark, before Malott capped off the second period flurry with his second of the night at 11:18, deflecting a Pereira centering pass past goaltender Brian Wilson for a 6-2 Bandit lead.
After a goaltending change, as Riley Morris entered the crease, the Oilers settled down, and pushed back in the third.
First, Nesbitt completed his hat trick on a rebound goal just 26 seconds into the final frame, before Connor Chambers scored on a power play breakaway at 7:15 to bring the Oilers to within two.
But the game was sealed with just 1:43 left, when the Oilers turned a puck over at the Bandit blue line while pulling their goalie. Nick Prkusic (Medicine Hat, AB) skated to the red line, oddly with no pressure on him at all, and casually deposited the puck into the open Oiler cage to seal the 7-4 final.
The Bandits outshot the Oilers 13-8 in the third and 44-28 overall, while goaltender Josh Davies (Guelph, ON) made 19 saved on 23 shots for his 23rd win of the season.
The two teams will meet again in Brooks tomorrow night on Ugly Christmas Sweater Night at the Centennial Regional Arena; fans in ugly Christmas sweaters will be entered into a draw to win a “Dancing Davies” prize pack, including a game-used signed goalie stick. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM, with pre-game coverage starting at 6:45 on Q105.7.