BROOKS, AB (December 5, 2015) – A raucous crowd of just under 1,400 at the Centennial Regional Arena on Saturday night not only got to litter the ice with teddy bears, but had reason to erupt late as Jeff Malott (Waterdown, ON) notched the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory for the Brooks Bandits (22-6-2) over the Whitecourt Wolverines on Saturday night.
Playing their third game in three days, the Bandits didn’t have the services of star defencemen Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) or Shane Bear (Calgary, AB), who were required to report to World Junior A Challenge selection camp for Team Canada West a day before the camp’s on-ice sessions began, as were Whitecourt forwards Justin Young and Joseph Nardi.
New Bandit defenceman Tristan Thompson (Canmore, AB) send the teddy bears flying at the 15:30 mark of the game on a slapshot off the rush that beat Whitecourt goalie Josh Dechaine for an early Bandit lead. The hundreds of Christmas toys that littered the ice were donated to the Scotiabank Smiles for Christmas program to help families in need in the holiday season.
After the cleanup, Whitecourt was able to tie the game up on a sharp angle shot by Dondre Watson that got past Josh Davies (Guelph, ON) with just 1:23 to go in the opening frame. Brooks outshot the Wolverines 20-16 in the even first period.
In the second, the Bandits took a one-goal lead when a Jesse Pereira (Fort Erie, ON) shot off of a faceoff snuck through Dechaine at 8:30.
But the final frame saw Whitecourt take firm control early. It took the Wolverines only 1:47 to tie the game when Eric Krienke tipped an Erik Pedersen point shot on the power play to make it 2-2. Just over three minutes later, Kevin Domingue found Frederic Letourneau in the slot for a quick one-time shot to make it 3-2 Wolverines with their first lead of the night.
Bandits leading scorer Dylan McCrory (Kirkland, PQ) responded, however, firing a long shot from the blue line through a screen provided by newcomer Landon Welykholowa (Calgary, AB) with fewer than four minutes left in the third to knot it at 3 goals a piece.
Soon after, Davies made the save of the game with his glove, denying Pedersen on an unobstructed Whitecourt breakaway to send the game to overtime, where Davies again made a breakaway save, this time on a streaking in Letourneau, who was denied his second of the game and game-winner.
The game-winner instead came with just over a minute to go in the extra frame, when Watson slipped and fell at the red line, allowing Derek Lodermeier (Brooklyn Center, MN) to hustle ahead on a 2-on-1 rush with Malott. The captain slid a pass across to Malott, who tipped it off the left skate of a sprawling Dechaine and inside the right post of the Whitecourt net for the dramatic overtime win.
The Bandits are back in action next Friday night at home hosting the Drayton Valley Thunder at 7:00 PM, followed by the Sherwood Park Crusaders the following night at 7.
Tickets for both games are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca, by phone at (403) 501-0122, or in person at the Centennial Regional Arena.
Shoppers Drug Mart Player of the Game: #30 Josh Davies
Boston Pizza Hardest Working Bandit: #15 Nick Prkusic