BONNYVILLE, AB (November 10, 2018) – The Brooks Bandits (19-2) never led until the game ended, erasing three separate 1-goal deficits en route to a 4-3 overtime win on the road over the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Saturday night.
The win gave the team a 2-game sweep of its northern road swing and extended their lead for first overall in the AJHL to two points with two games in hand on second place Sherwood Park.
A penalty-filled first period saw eight power plays awarded in the opening twenty minutes, but of the three goals scored in the frame, the first two were even strength. First, Cayden Kraus tapped in a rebound off the rush from the left side of the net just 2:27 into the game to give Bonnyville the early lead, before Arnaud Vachon (Ajax, ON) tied it when he drove into the Pontiac zone down the right side and fired a high wrist shot past goalie Colby Muise to make it 1-1.
But with Bonnyville on a 5-on-3, Luke Albert blasted a shot by Brooks goalie Pierce Charleson (Aurora, ON) to give the home side the 2-1 advantage after 20.
In the second, the Bandits stormed back just 2:22 in, when Ryan Mahshie (Stoney Creek, ON) fired in his league-leading sixth power play goal of the season from the right circle.
But in the third, as Bonnyville’s seventh power play of the game expired, Grayson Constable was left alone at the left side of the Brooks net to sweep a puck in past Charleson and put the Pontiacs back up 3-2.
The late game heroics fell to William Lemay (Marieville, QC) and Simon Gravel (Boucherville, QC), with the former Saint-Hyacinthe Laureats teammates hooking up for the game-tying goal when Lemay’s shot bounced off Muise and produced a rebound that Gravel corralled at the right side of the net and roofed from a sharp angle to send the game to overtime.
Bonnyville looked to have the game won in the early seconds of the extra frame when Constable found Lucas Thorne open in the slot for a point blank wrist shot; but while falling onto the seat of his pants, Charleson snagged the puck with his glove for one of his best saves of the season to keep the game tied.
On the ensuing shift, Vachon battled the puck in deep of the Bonnyville zone where Mahshie took over, driving by two Bonnyville defenders into the slot and firing a quick backhander that beat Muise on the glove side for the dramatic overtime winner just 44 seconds into the extra frame, sending the Bandits streaming off the bench.
The Bandits will next welcome one of only two teams to beat them this year, the Spruce Grove Saints, on Friday night in Brooks at the Centennial Regional Arena. Tickets are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca.