BROOKS, AB (March 3, 2017) – Ty Mappin (Big Valley, AB) set a new franchise record for assists in a season, as his Brooks Bandits (50-5-4) became just the eighth team in Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) history to record 50 wins in a season, downing the visiting Camrose Kodiaks 5-3 at the Centennial Regional Arena on Friday night.
The win gives the Bandits the second most victories in team history, behind only the 53 of the 2012-13 RBC Cup-winning team. The Bandits never led until the third period, coming back from three separate one-goal deficits.
A scoreless first period gave way to a three-goal second in which the Kodiaks took a 2-1 lead, sending the Bandits to the second intermission trailing for just the seventh time all season. A Ryan Hartman shot from the left circle beat Mitch Benson (Windsor, ON) to open the scoring for the visitors, before a Parker Huebner (Leduc, AB) point shot beat Patrick Gora through a screen to knot the goal up.
With his pass from the halfboards to Huebner at the blue line for the goal, Mappin registered his 66th assist of the season, breaking the previous franchise mark of 65 recorded by Matt Wilkins in the 2011-12 season.
Before the period was out, Josh Zablocki converted on a netmouth scramble on a power play to give Camrose the 2-1 advantage after two.
A furious flurry of scoring ensued in the third, kicked off by Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) sniping a power play goal from the left circle for his 33rd of the year and a 2-2 score. But Camrose bounced back with Colin Schmidt marching to the net off a faceoff and jamming a point blank shot past Benson to give Camrose the 3-2 edge.
But just over a minute later, Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) collected a puck at the right corner, skated along the goal line to the side of the Camrose net, and flipped a point blank backhander short side on Gora to tie the score again.
At the 14:12 mark, Vinny Renda (Montreal, PQ) set up Joe O’Connor (Hamden, CT) from the left halfboards off the rush for a net front deflection that found the back of the net for the eventual game-winning goal. With just 1:34 left, a Kord Pankewicz (Drayton Valley, AB) clearance from his own zone rolled into an empty Camrose net to notch the 5-3 final score.
The two teams will reconvene Saturday night in Brooks for their final game of the 2016-17 regular season, with the annual Nick Crosby Memorial Award, as well as five AJHL trophies, handed out before the game. Tickets are available online at tickets.brooksbandits.ca with puck drop set for 7:00 PM.