BROOKS, AB (December 12, 2015) – The Brooks Bandits (24-6-2) followed up an 8-2 Friday night win over Drayton Valley in almost more impressive fashion Saturday night, exploding offensively for a 10-1 win over the visiting Sherwood Park Crusaders (22-11-2) at the Centennial Regional Arena.
With the win, the Bandits remained one point ahead of the Camrose Kodiaks for first place in the AJHL South with a game in hand.
Newcomer Landon Welkyholowa (Calgary, AB) opened the scoring exactly 60 seconds into the game with his first goal as a Bandit; a rebound shot on a chance created by Kyler Nachtigall (Calgary, AB). Before the first was out, Josh McKechney (Calgary, AB) would add his league-leading 10th power play goal at the 10:38 mark, and Derek Lodermeier would score shorthanded, the first player to score a penalty kill goal against the Crusaders this season, to make it 3-0 with 1:29 to go in the frame.
The second period saw six goals scored, with five of them coming from the home side. First, despite the Crusaders replacing goalie Zach Dyment with backup Zac Klassen, Lodermeier notched his second of the night just 83 seconds in on an odd-man rush with a quick wrist shot from the right-wing faceoff circle. Then, Nachtigall set up Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) on a 2-on-1 down low at the 8:27 mark for a 5-0 lead.
The Crusaders responded less than a minute after the Mappin goal when Merritt Oszytko snuck a backdoor shot past Josh Davies (Guelph, ON) to get the visitors on the board. But just over two minutes after that, Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) scored on a shot from the slot on the power play to make it 6-1 and force the second Sherwood Park goalie change of the night, as Dyment returned to the net.
Nick Prkusic scored on a slapshot through a screen less than two minutes later, and Lodermeier completed his hat trick at the 15:31 mark when Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) kicked the puck to the slot from the left circle, setting up the captain’s one-timer for his third goal and a slight delay as the officials cleaned up a surprisingly sizeable array of headgear that Bandit fans deposited on the ice.
In the third period, the Bandits added two more goals in a span of just 31 seconds. First, Malott scored a goal to make it a five-point night for himself on a nifty high-slot setup by McKechney, who found the Cornell commit at the top of the crease, with enough of a step on his defender to tuck a backhand shot between the pads of Dyment for a 9-1 lead.
Finally, Jesse Baird (Brampton, ON) dangled his way into the Crusader slot from the right halfboards and flung a backhand shot past Dyment at the 12:51 mark to send the Bandits to double digits for the first time since their season-opening 11-2 win in Canmore.
Brooks outshot the Crusaders 43-26 in the game, went 3 for 11 on the power play, and a perfect 5 for 5 on the PK, while Josh Davies made 25 saves on 26 shots for his 22nd win of the season.
The Bandits hit the road next Thursday night to Okotoks, before returning home for games against Okotoks Friday and Fort McMurray Saturday to complete the 2015 calendar year.
All three games begin at 7:00 PM with pre-game coverage starting at 6:45 on Q105.7.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #18 Derek Lodermeier
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #5 Joe O'Connor